Hurdle won't rush to name Wild Card Game starter

While Giants tab Bumgarner, Pirates could still play tiebreaker Monday for Central title

Hurdle won't rush to name Wild Card Game starter

CINCINNATI -- Madison Bumgarner versus Jeff Locke in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday?

It is the peak of hypothetical musings, but based on the different last-weekend opportunities being faced by the Pirates and the Giants, it could come to pass.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy nominated Bumgarner as his NL Wild Card starter as soon as the Giants clinched the spot. Bochy went as far as to say he would not pitch Bumgarner on the regular season's last day even if home-field advantage for the NL Wild Card Game had yet to be determined.

"You got to realize they're in a different position than we're in right now," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, referencing his club's hopes of yet claiming the National League Central title. "We'll continue to evaluate day by day to make the best decision we feel we can make for our club.

"To skip somebody [in the rotation] ... that's just great conversation now."

One-game behind the division-leading Cardinals entering the weekend, the Pirates are lined up to start Vance Worley, Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole against the Reds.

"If every game counts, Cole pitches the last game and Edinson [Volquez] is available for the [division tiebreaker] game in St. Louis," Hurdle said. "Then the next step is Locke in the Wild Card Game. We will see. No need to make a decision now."

Hurdle isn't convinced Bochy's plans are set in stone.

"I know the man," Hurdle said. "I don't think he'll concede anything. We'll see how it plays out two days from now [if the Wild Card home-field advantage is still up for grabs]. But I understand Bochy having those thoughts. [Bumgarner] has been his guy."

As the Giants' top winner, Bumgarner is 18-10 with a 2.98 ERA. He has been particularly effective since being roughed up in his final July start, going 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA in his last 10 starts.

His tormentors in that July 28 start? The Pirates, who knocked him around for five runs and six hits in four innings for their 5-0 victory at AT&T Park.

Worth noting
Pedro Alvarez (stress reaction, left foot) is scheduled for a visit Tuesday with a specialist, hoping to get clearance to begin moderate workouts.

Ike Davis showed up under the weather Friday and was sidelined with what Hurdle described as "flu-like symptoms that were a little more."

• Volquez ended his regular season with a 1.36 ERA in his last 10 starts -- the lowest in a 10-start stretch for a Pittsburgh starting pitcher since Zane Smith's 1.08 in 1990.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.