The Pittsburgh Pirates are right on track where they were last year at this time with being in contention. Let me repeat that: the terrible hitting Pirates are still somehow in contention for a not just a wild card spot, but also the division crown, despite having a team batting average of .225. That is the second worse in all of baseball with Oakland right behind the Pirates hitting just .222 as a team.
The only reason why the Pirates are still in it and sit three games over .500 is because of their pitching. The Pirates have a team ERA of 3.38. That is fourth best in all of baseball, not just in the National League. That is an amazing stat and very impressive for the team.
With that being said, the Pirates were in the same position last season. The team finished with a team batting average of .244. So they did hit better last year. But the pitching faltered and tired towards the end. In the first half, the Pirates had a team ERA of 3.44, almost exactly the same as this year. In the second half of last season, they had a team ERA of 4.78. The pitching staff was giving up over a run more a game after the All-Star Break.
This year it looks like history is going to repeat itself so this is my message to Clint Hurdle: do not let history repeat itself. Learn from it and change it. The club has a team ERA of 4.03 in the month of June. Kevin Correia and Brad Lincoln both got rocked in their last starts. Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens are both on the DL. James McDonald, A.J. Burnett, and Erik Bedard are carrying the load right now, but how much longer can they do it before they get tired?
So the solution to this problem: start using a six-man rotation. It is time to go against the unofficial rules and use six instead of five. It will help save everyone's arms and keep the whole staff fresh.
Now the next question is who do you use in the rotation? The first three spots are no-brainers with those being occupied by James McDonald, A.J. Burnett, and Erik Bedard. Now the last three are not as easy. I say the number four spot goes to Jeff Karstens when he is healthy, which he is close. He was consistent last year with getting people out and why not give him the chance to have a repeat performance. The fifth spot should go to Kevin Correia/Brad Lincoln. Whichever one is pitching better at time of implementing the six-man rotation gets the nod and loser becomes a long reliever. The final spot goes to Rudy Owens who is pitching lights-out in Triple-A Indianapolis. So Clint, it is time foryou to start using a six-man rotation if you want to save this season. If the pitching staff gets tired, you can forget about the season because the hitting will definitely not save this team.

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