Changes due for rotation?


CHICAGO – James McDonald still is listed as the starting pitcher Wednesday against the Brewers, but there is a chance he soon could be replaced in the rotation by rookie Kyle McPherson. Manager Clint Hurdle spoke privately with both pitchers after McDonald was lit up Friday for four runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs.

When asked point-blank this morning if McDonald will at least skip a start, Hurdle responded: “I’m just going to pass on that question for now. We’re doing some internal talking about a lot of different areas. I had a talk with James yesterday and we’ll leave it at that now. Good feedback is important, but we need action to follow it up. You always look for what is going to trigger a level of commitment that’s significant. Sometimes, you’ve got to look at the option of taking something away from somebody. That’s always an option. But, is it at the top of the list, I wouldn’t say that. You’re looking to find a key to unlock something. That’s the challenge you have with young players — sometimes it takes different keys. Not one key works with everybody. We’re trying to find the keys to unlock him. And we’re running out of time.”

»»» The Pirates have lost a season-worst seven games in a row, their longest skid since dropping 10 straight from July 29-Aug. 7, 2011.

»»» Friday was the fifth time in franchise history the Pirates used eight pitchers in a nine-inning game.

Game 144: Pirates @ Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET

Pirates (72-71): 1. Starling Marte lf, 2. Travis Snider rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. Wandy Rodriguez lhp (10-13, 3.72)

Cubs (57-87): 1. Joe Mather cf, 2. Darwin Barney 2b, 3. Anthony Rizzo 1b, 4. Alfonso Soriano lf, 5. Starlin Castro ss, 6. Wellington Castillo c, 7. Josh Vitters 3b, 8. Dave Sappelt rf, 9. Jason Berken rhp (NL debut)