September 30: Pirates (56-102) @ Marlins (77-81)

Jenifer Langosch/

As the Pirates begin their final four-game series of the season, you have to wonder if this is going to be the last time Pirates fans see Zach Duke take the mound in black and gold. It is not a foregone conclusion that Duke won’t be back. There’s also no guarantee he will.

The lefty is about to be arbitration eligible for the third time, and that means his $4.3 million salary will likely tick up to close to $6 million. That is, of course, if the Pirates decide to give him a contract. Given Duke’s struggles this year and inconsistencies in years’ past, it seems unlikely that the Pirates will be willing to allocate that much to Duke.

Now, there is always the chance that the Pirates non-tender Duke and then try to sign him back at a lower cost (same route Pittsburgh tried with Matt Capps last winter), but that doesn’t mean Duke will choose to return.

If Duke’s career in Pittsburgh is about to come to an end, he’ll leave with more wins at PNC Park (31) than any other pitcher. In 159 games (158 starts) with the Pirates, Duke has gone 45-69 with a 4.52 ERA.

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), J. Bowker (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), Z. Duke (LHP)

Duke vs. FLA: 0-4 in 6 starts, 30.2 IP, 47 H, 21 ER, 2 HR, 10 BB, 21 K


E. Bonifacio (CF), O. Martinez (SS), L. Morrison (LF), D. Uggla (2B), G. Sanchez (1B), M. Stanton (RF), W. Helms (3B), B. Davis (C), C. Volstad(RHP)

Volstad vs. PIT: 0-2 in 2 starts, 8 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 3 K

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

In light of Duke’s current performance, the decision to give him a contract at a lower price is an easy one. The most bewildering decision made today is the firing of The Curve’s 4-time Manager of the Year and skipper that led them to this season’s championship. I can’t understand this. As this manager just said on tv, the Pirates management is not commited to winning. In contrast, with Russell still in charge with 300 loses in 3 years, I’m inclined to believe it. What a tragic joke this once proud Pirate franchise has become, and the joke is on the fans!

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