HOUSTON -- With Francisco Cordero unavailable after throwing 57 pitches on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Astros will probably look to right-hander Wilton Lopez to close the ninth inning if they have the lead on Thursday.
"That would probably be our first choice if we can get there without him," manager Brad Mills said. "We might have to use him to get there."
Cordero blew saves in Tuesday and Wednesday games against the Reds, giving up three runs in each outing. Mills said the team has been evaluating the closer situation in the last 12 hours, but if an official change is made, the pitchers involved will be told about that move on Friday afternoon.
Reliever usage on Thursday will definitely play a role in any decision.
"Tonight's going to be an interesting night to see how we do that," Mills said.
If the Astros use Lopez before the ninth and have a lead going into the ninth, Mills said the team will try to play the matchups. The manager noted that left-hander Wesley Wright could be an option in the ninth because he's had success against the Pirates' middle of the lineup.
Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee -- the Pirates' second, third, fourth and fifth hitters on Thursday -- are a combined 1-for-15 against Wright.
"We're going to do everything we can to get there with a lead, and then we'll go from there," Mills said.