The Pittsburgh Pirates were one of the season's most pleasant surprises, starting off 12-6 and even securing an early lead in the National League Central. Yet Clint Hurdle's bunch has since entered a downward spiral that has seen them go 2-9 and drop to fourth place.
To make matters worse, the Pirates placed right-handed starter Jameson Taillon on the injured list with a right elbow flexor strain.
ROSTER MOVES: We have placed Jameson Taillon on the 10-day IL with a right elbow flexor strain and optioned Pablo Reyes to AAA Indy. Kevin Newman has been returned from his rehab and reinstated from the IL.— Pirates (@Pirates) May 4, 2019
He'll be shut down for at least the next four weeks.
Taillon joins Chris Archer as Pirates starters on the injured list. Taillon had a 101 ERA+ through his first seven starts. He'd recorded nearly four times as many strikeouts as walks, and had notched three quality starts -- third most on the staff.
It's not clear who the Pirates will slot into their rotation in Taillon's absence. They could theoretically task Nick Kingham or Steven Brault with the job. Alternatively, they could turn to one of the three minor-league starters on their 40-man roster: top prospect Mitch Keller, Clay Holmes, or JT Brubaker.
Whatever the Pirates do, they just have to hope it helps them break out of their rut.