The Pirates lost Wandy Rodriguez and were nearly no-hit in a 5-0 loss to the Braves Wednesday afternoon.
Rodriguez only got one out before pointing to his forearm and leaving the game. The Pirates later tweeted that he had forearm tightness, which was the same injury that felled Jeanmar Gomez the other day. There's no word on how serious Rodriguez's case is, but it will probably require a DL stint, just as Gomez's did. In that case, the Pirates could consider promoting Gerrit Cole, who seems to be rounding into form nicely for Indianapolis -- as I type this, he's pitched 5.2 innings today against Durham, with three strikeouts, no runs and no walks. (As I noted last weekend, his last start in Columbus was also quite good.) The Pirates are running out of starting pitching options, and while I'm sure they'd probably rather wait for Cole to pitch well for another month or so, it may be time to acknowledge he's a perfectly good option right now.
Anyway, to return to the game, Julio Teheran piled up outs against the Pirates, mostly by routinely getting ahead in counts. He struck out 11, becoming the latest recent opposing starter to rack up double-digit strikeouts against the Bucs. Brandon Inge pinch-hit in the eighth and singled for the Pirates' only hit. (Inge was also the only Pirate to get a hit against Johnny Cueto last week.) As much as the pitching seems to be clinging to the end of its rope right now, the hitting has been awful.
Rodriguez's early departure forced the Pirates to again depend on their bullpen most of the game, and their relievers handled themselves decently -- Bryan Morris had 3.2 scoreless innings before Vin Mazzaro and Jared Hughes gave up a couple runs apiece. Mike Zagurski pitched a scoreless eighth. Morris threw 50 pitches, and if the Pirates don't want to put Cole in the rotation, having Morris make the next start in Rodriguez's place might make sense. The Bucs have off days tomorrow and Monday, and they'll skip Gomez's turn in the rotation before having Morton make the next one. With Rodriguez presumably unlikely to make his next start, it's unclear how the Bucs will handle the order of the rest of the starters. They may also make a move or two involving relievers, given that the bullpen had to pitch 8.2 innings today.
I haven't even gotten into how the Braves scored the runs, but it doesn't really matter -- Evan Gattis hit a ball ridiculously hard, but whatever. The 5-0 loss completed a sweep for Atlanta.