Pirates Gerrit Cole Debut: We Loved What We Didn’t See

Gerrit Cole

flashes the Zoltan after a two-run bases loaded single in his first Major League at-bat PHOTO: Rumbunter

The best part of what Gerrit Cole did last night was what we didn’t see.  The composure was evident.  The intensity was there as we’ve heard so much about.  The fastball was pounded.  Repeatedly.  Strike after strike after strike Gerrit Cole showed that he belongs in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation every fifth day.

The start of the game was a great one for Pittsburgh Pirates fans.  Well for those that saw it—and weren’t getting wanded at new security check points on Federal Street.  Cole’s reaction after striking out Gregor Blanco was impressive from where we were sitting.

The adrenaline was pumping.

Marco Scutaro flared a single to right, but the PNC Park crowd was still into every pitch.

A flyout to center followed before the right-hander got ahead on Hunter Pence 0-2.    The big-eyed Pence was able to get a bat on Cole’s slider and hit it up the middle off the heel of Clint Barmes glove.

Two-on, two out.

Most of the 30,416 were still getting to their seats and a calm came over the Pirates fans.

Bad thoughts raced through my head.  How in the world was I going to explain to my son if this suddenly went bad?   We got a bit quiet too, but didn’t say anything as Cole got ahead in the count against Brandon Belt.  It looked like he might have been squeezed on a 1-2 pitch, and everyone let the home plate umpire know it.

But the calmness was replaced by cheering when Cole got out of his first big league inning, stranding two Giants, by getting a popout to shortstop Barmes.

Cue the music

Cole battled throughout the game.  He gave the radar gun a workout and heeded the words of Ray Searage who said this morning he didn’t want to see much finesse.  Cole just brought it.  Maybe the best battle was seeing him handle the bat in the second inning when he put the Pirates on the board first with his two-run single off Tim Lincecum.

ForbestoFederal with the GIF

Gerrit Cole flashes the Zoltan (ForbestoFederal GIF)

The game was far from perfect despite Cole retiring 13 consecutive Giants at one point.  The flamethrower had just two strikeouts didn’t make the Kennametal K girl work very hard.  But Cole never fell apart. Martins’ catchers glove didn’t move a whole lot during the outing as Cole put up zero after zero against the defending World Series Champions.

We heard a great deal about the wipeout slider.

We didn’t see a lot of it.

We heard about a pitcher who can be rattled on the mound.

We didn’t see a lot of it.

Some said it was too early for Cole to be called up having only a couple of solid starts at AAA.

We didn’t see those people talking much after the game.

Plenty of times, the first overall pick in the MLB Draft two years ago could have made a big mistake as he relied on fastball after fastball.

We never saw it.