Stage Set for Gerrit Cole Against Cardinals
By Tom Smith
Aug 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Gerrit Cole has the stage set for his performance, and it will be a big one. The Pirates first overall pick gets the ball in a hot division race to the postseason. St. Louis is doing their best to put distance between them and the third place Bucs. The Cardinals are currently in second place in the N.L. Central, 1.5 games behind Milwaukee and 4.5 games in front of Pittsburgh. Tonight Gerrit Cole looks to tighten things up a bit in the playoff chase. The Pirates are trusting Gerrit Cole pitches like the Gerrit Cole he did the last time out. The right handers velocity was up. The bad guys were held to just two runs as the Bucs ace had made his way back to the club and took over where he left off last season. Unfortunately it took a while for Cole to get healthy in the 2014 season. Tonight is another test in his young career against a team he knows quite well. Against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 Division Series, Cole pitched 11 innings against the Cardinals and allowed just three runs. Over his career, Cole has a 1.93 ERA in games against St. Louis allowing three earned runs in 14 innings pitched. Back on April 4th, Cole pitched seven innings and gave up two earned and then allowed just one run over seven innings in a 1-0 loss at Busch Stadium at the end of April. Gerrit Cole is only 23-years young, but looks to become the horse during the Pirates stretch run. The flamethrowers arm, fingers, lats and an assortment of other injuries have held back his emergence in his sophomore season. Cole is making just his 16th start of the 2014 season and looks to be trying to make up for the lost time. It’s good timing because his ball club needs him more than anyone to play great tonight. In his last outing against the hot Atlanta Braves, the righty went 7 innings and scattered five hits on two runs while striking out six. Tonight he looks to shake the rust that surrendered four walks against the Atlanta batters and got him jumped on a first inning homer by Jason Heyward that made it over The Clemente Wall in the blink of an eye. Aug 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) crosses home plate to score a run as Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) looks on during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports The Bucs need a win tonight in order to have any thought of gaining ground on the NL Central leaders. The Pirates have their best arm on the mound to do it. And as it lines up currently, Cole will be on the mound at Busch Stadium next Monday afternoon ready to do it again in the Pirates September road series opener against the Cardinals. The stage is prepared. Now it’s time for Cole step on the stage, dig in and do his thing.