Right-hander Kyle McPherson made his second career start Monday night and took the loss as the Pirates fell 6-2 to the Mets at New York. The loss, coupled with St. Louis' win over Houston, put the Pirates 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals with nine games remaining.
McPherson gave up four runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings and is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in his two starts after posting a 1.54 ERA in seven relief appearances. He is tentatively scheduled to make one last start on Saturday night against Cincinnati.
"He's trying to figure some things out when he's out there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We want him to stay aggressive, pitch to win, make the same conviction pitches that he would make to other people, don't let the names make you change your game."
Left-hander Jeff Locke will pitch Wednesday night against the Mets and is tentatively scheduled to make his last start of the season Monday against Atlanta. Locke is 0-2 with a 6.64 ERA in four starts this September after pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings in two relief outings.
Hurdle said he wants to get a good look at McPherson and Locke because both will likely contend for spots in the rotation next year during spring training.
LHP Justin Wilson will pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season after the Pirates gave some thought to giving him a late season start. Wilson moved from the rotation to the bullpen late in the season at Class AAA Indianapolis, and the Pirates seem to believe he profiles best as a reliever because of his ability to throw hard in short stints. Wilson pitched one scoreless inning Monday night in a 6-2 loss to the Mets at New York and has allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings and seven games for a 2.08 ERA.
CF Andrew McCutchen kept his batting average at .336 and maintained a four-point lead over San Francisco C Buster Posey (.332) in the National League batting race by going 1-for-3 with a triple on Monday night. The Giants were idle. McCutchen also has 30 home runs and is trying to become the first Pirates player to win the batting title during a 30-homer season since Dave Parker hit .334 with 30 homers in 1978.
OF Travis Snider struck out as a pinch hitter Monday night and is 4-for-35 (.114) with no extra-base hits since Aug. 31. Snider has been a disappointment since being acquired from Toronto in July 30 trade. He has hit .246 with one home run in 44 games.
3B Pedro Alvarez's five-game hitting streak ended as he went 0-for-4 on Monday night. Alvarez is hitting .195 in 21 games in September after having a .322 batting average in 25 games in August.
LHP Wandy Rodriguez will try to continue his late season surge when he faces the Mets on Tuesday night in New York. Rodriguez has a 1.52 ERA in his last five starts and is 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA in his last seven games, including one relief appearances.
By The Numbers:
318—CF Andrew McCutchen's total bases this season, the most by a Pirates player since Jason Bay had 335 in 2005.
Quote To Note:
"Unfortunately, the way we're going, this one backfired on us as well."
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Monday night's loss, the Pirates' 31st in their last 43 games.