The Pittsburgh Pirates need a hero today, or risk playing the rest of the National League Division Series in win-or-make-tee-times mode. It’s fortunate Gerrit Cole has thrown at least six innings in the majority of his starts during his rookie season. Cole has failed to go six innings only five times in 19 starts. The rookie has gone seven innings six times.
Cole will pitch better than A.J. did, but the Pirates have to play better defense. The Bucs have to hit better, too, and with Lance Lynn on the mound that should happen.
The Cards have outscored the Bucs 35-12 in the recent matchups. It’s starting to be a concern, but have faith in the Bucs offense. Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker have OPS over .800 against the Cards righty. Even Clint Barmes hits well, but Andrew McCutchen, for some reason, has struggled mightily.
Have faith, Pirates nation. A Pittsburgh Pirates hero will step up today. It’s hard not to imagine that being the big right-hander from California. Cole has pitched like a man possessed down the stretch for the Bucs. He will find the strike zone. He will shove. He will fire in the high 90′s.
“It’s going to be loud, going to be rocking. I have no real experience to pull from, so I am just going to keep it real simple.” Cole
Sometimes simple is a good thing. Trying to overthink against a lineup that oozes postseason swag is useless. We think Cole will be the hero that the Bucs need desperately this afternoon. It sort of reminds us of Tim Wakefield in 92. Drabek didn’t get it done, Wakefield stepped in as a rookie in the third game and took care of business.
We don’t think Cole will pitch a complete game today, but we do think he will pitch well, the offense will plate a few runs, and – most importantly – the ballclub get back to Pittsburgh with the series tied, and watch as PNC Park ignites on Sunday afternoon.