On Sunday Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle called on 26-year-old Phil Irwin to take the hill against the New York Yankees. Chances are Hurdle won’t be doing that again any time soon as Irwin got smacked around the ballpark by the Bronx Bombers. Irwin lasted only 2 1/3 innings giving up seven hits, six runs, two walks and not striking out a single batter.
Irwin is likely headed to the minors very soon. In his career he has just four games of AAA experience. He did well in those four games picking up three victories and having an earned run average of 2.57. He also averaged 1.33 strikeouts per inning.
Irwin needs to make some inroads quickly if he is ever going to have a decent major league career. He is too old to be a prosepct anymore and even though he has put up solid numbers in four years in the minors, he has progressed through the system rather slowly. He needed to take advantage of the opportunity he got on Sunday and unfortunately he didn’t.
The question I have is why didn’t Jeff Locke get this start? He did pitch in relief and wound up going four innings. He was semi-successful allwoing only two runs, neither of which was earned. Locke has a more realistic chance of making the rotation so shouldn’t he have been the one who was facing the Yankees starting lineup? We are far enough into spring training where the team shouldn’t be wasting starts on a guy that probably has a better chance of winning the lottery than making the rotation out of camp.