As Charlie noted in his recap yesterday, the Pirates not only lost a game they could have won yesterday, the bullpen is now gassed from having to pitch so many innings in the three game series. Both Joel Hanrahan and Jose Veras pitched in all three games against the Reds, and Clint Hurdle has said repeatedly that he won't have his relievers pitch more than three days in a row.
That presents a problem. Not only are the Milwaukee Brewers, winners of 22 of their last 25 coming into town today, the two teams are scheduled to play a twinight doubleheader. For the Pirates Jeff Karstens is scheduled to pitch in game 1 and Brad Lincoln is scheduled to pitch in game 2. With Paul Maholm on the DL and visiting Dr. James Andrews today, the Pirates also need a starting pitcher for tomorrow's game. Here is how I would shuffle the roster over the next 24 hours in order to "solve" the problem.
1) Change the order of today's starting pitchers and have Lincoln pitch game 1 and Karstens game 2.
2) Before game 1 option Josh Harrison to Indianapolis and recall Chris Leroux. For game one the Pirates now have 13 pitchers. Chris Leroux can be the long/swingman and Chris Resop, Tony Watson and Dan McCutchen should be available for any high-leverage innings.
3) Before game 2 option LIncoln back to Indianapolis and recall Chase d'Arnaud. For one game the Pirates are short a utility infielder. At this point, for 10 days, d'Arnaud and Harrison are basically fungible.
4.) After game 2, option Leroux back to Indianapolis and recall Ross Ohlendorf to start tomorrow's game.
The result of all this shuffling is that d'Arnaud takes Harrison's roster spot and Ohlendorf takes Lincoln's spot. Rosters expand September 1, but both optioned players would need to stay in the minors ten days so they could be called up September 2 or after the season ends September 5.
It seems like a pretty easy solution to the problem and allows the Pirates to give Hanrahan and Veras a much-needed day off. Let's see how it plays out.
UPDATE 2: Leroux is in Pittsburgh, but no move will be made before game 1.