BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates have made it very clear their hope of reaching the postseason rests on their pitching staff, particularly the top four of the starting rotation.
In fact, Clint Hurdle referred to the foursome of Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer as the “Core Four” following Tuesday’s spring training workout at Pirate City. That is heady stuff for a group that has won 123 games in the major leagues, 57 by Archer.
It is understandable why the Pirates are so excited about the “Core Four.” Archer is a two-time All-Star and the other three all appear to still have upside.
The Pirates are also hopeful a solid No. 5 starter will shake out from the Grapefruit League competition among Steven Brault, Nick Kingham and Jordan Lyles. Exhibition play begins Saturday and those three will also see more innings in major-league games during the early part of the schedule while the “Core Four” will pitch in minor-league camp games.
But what if one of the Pirates’ front four suffers an injury? What if two of them were on the injured list at the same time?