The Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen is in great shape for the rest of the season and the next few years.
However the guys pitching in front of Vazquez are missing one thing- a left hander.
As constructed right now, the Bucs bullpen has a void and really has all season as Steven Brault was the only other southpaw in the pen.
That begs the question of does this bullpen really need a left-hander?
The case for a lefty
The obvious is it always helps.
Who comes in the game and pitches to Matt Carpenter with the bases loaded in the seventh or eighth inning?
Scooter Gennett, Kyle Schwarber, Mike Moustakas, Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw are all dangerous left-handed hitters that reside in the division so it would be nice to be able to matchup against them in big situations late in games.
The club did claim Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Houston Astros and he will likely be a September call up, but in the meantime, not having an accomplished left hander in the bullpen could come back to bite Hurdle.
The case against a lefty
Even if he had one, would Hurdle use him correctly?
Hurdle’s never been the type of manager to play matchups late in games anyways so it really doesn’t seem like a necessity.
He’s always been committed to sending guys out for a certain inning regardless of who is coming up to bat.
You can also make the case of the guys he has are getting the job done against left-handed hitters as it is.
Rodriguez is holding left-handed batters to a .522 OPS, while Crick (.574) and Santana (.678) have also been very good this year against left-handed hitters.
On the opposite end, Kela has allowed a .900 OPS against left-handed batters so he shouldn’t be an option.
I don’t really see the Pirates adding a left-handed reliever for the stretch run this season and as I mentioned before, Hurdle likely wouldn’t use him much anyways.
But in the offseason, I wouldn’t mind seeing them targeting a left-handed specialist that will just make what is going to be a very good bullpen even stronger.
While guys like Zach Britton, Andrew Miller and Sean Doolittle will not be options, targeting a guys like Zach Duke, Jake Diekman, Tony Sipp or Justin Wilson, who are all upcoming free agents, makes a lot of sense.