Here is what I wrote when the Pirates called up Chad Qualls and Dan McCutchen this afternoon:
I get not wanting to throw Morris or Wilson straight into the fire and risk having an untested rookie blow a lead, but keeping guys like Qualls and McCutchen around with Morris and Wilson in the minor leagues is borderline criminal. It will cost the Pirates games in the next two weeks. It makes no sense at all to me.
Chad Qualls entered in the eighth inning down by one run. He gave up a run. Garrett Jones's two-run homer in the ninth inning tied the game instead of putting the Pirates ahead. When the Pirates didn't score in the tenth inning, Clint Hurdle brought McCutchen in. He walked a batter and gave up an absolute bomb of a home run to Chase Headley. Joel Hanrahan sat in the bullpen unused. Jared Hughes? In the bullpen, unused. Chris Resop? In the bullpen, unused. Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson? Mystifyingly still in Triple-A.
We can talk about how the offense didn't come through often enough tonight. We can talk about the brutal defense the Pirates played in the middle of this game. We can talk about how Hurdle once again had a too-slow hook with AJ Burnett and it caught up to him tonight. We can wonder why it's so hard for Hurdle to recognize that Jason Grilli strikes everyone out and so he should be your go-to guy with runners on base instead of guys like Tony Watson.
The Pirates are in a playoff race. The general manager is not building the roster like a general manager in a playoff race. That's creating a gimped bullpen for a manager who's not using his bullpen like a manager in a playoff race. Nothing at all makes sense about the way the bullpen has been filled or used since Brad Lincoln was traded. I've said it over and over again: the Pirates have better options than what they currently have in their bullpen. They're choosing not to explore them for reasons that make no sense to anyone that's paying attention to this team. They're losing games because of it.