If things had gone as planned earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates might be facing former teammate Tyler Anderson this weekend as the Philadelphia Phillies visit.
But a potential trade Tuesday that would have sent Anderson to the Phillies fell through at relatively the last minute, apparently because of an issue with one of the Philadelphia prospects involved.
Late that night, the Pirates pivoted and traded Anderson to Seattle for a couple other prospects.
That has left the Phillies scrambling to try to add a starter before Friday afternoon's trade deadline, especially with Zach Eflin dealing with tendinitis in his right knee.
"We can always use starters," said Philadelphia slugger Bryce Harper, who left the second game of a doubleheader Thursday because of back tightness but promised to be ready to play Friday. "Starting pitching wins games -- pitching and defense. ... Timely hitting, of course, but pitching and defense will always be king in this game."
Phillies starter Zack Wheeler -- who took the loss in the first game Thursday as Philadelphia split against Washington -- would like some help in the rotation. "That's out of my hands, but hopefully so," he said.
First baseman Rhys Hoskins also left Thursday's second game, because of a groin issue, and is day to day, Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
Philadelphia enters the series potentially buoyed by its comeback from a seven-run deficit Thursday in the second game against the Nationals.
Pittsburgh, in rebuilding mode, has been active with three deals since Sunday. The Pirates are collecting prospects while shipping out members of the active roster. That has not translated well to what is happening on the field.
Pittsburgh is coming off a series sweep at home by Milwaukee and was outscored 28-3 in the three games, with two shutouts.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton was emphatic that his club did not falter because of emotional fallout from the trades.
"I think we ran into a hot team," Shelton said. "We did not play well, but I'm not taking anything away from the Brewers."
Still, Shelton is looking forward to getting past the trade deadline so he can get a look at what his roster will be going into the Phillies series and beyond.
"You do get some finality to it," he said. "Once we get through it, kind of regroup, that's important because the trade deadline is difficult for any team."
Barring any moves that might change things, the pitching matchup for Friday is scheduled to be Philadelphia right-hander Vince Velasquez (3-5, 5.54 ERA) against Pittsburgh right-hander Wil Crowe (2-5, 5.89).
On Saturday against Atlanta, Velasquez made it just 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs and five hits in taking a loss. He is 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in three career starts against the Pirates.
Crowe, who has never faced Philadelphia, snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday and struck out a career-high nine at San Francisco, giving up two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, with one walk.
--Field Level Media