REPORT: Pittsburgh Pirates to skip Cole for one start


After another frustrating loss against an NL Central divisional foe, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their manager Clint Hurdle announced that A.J. Burnett would return to the starting rotation.

Oh, and also that Gerrit Cole would be skipped over for a start for rest.

As Bill reports, Hurdle announced the move soon after the end of the game. The timing is curious, as Cole had what was easily his best start of the second half, going for seven innings against the Cardinals. Needing just 99 pitches to get there, Cole was dominant again, allowing just two hits while striking out seven. When we look at both sides of this coin, there’s a lot to unpack.

This is the right move mainly as it allows Cole to have a hand in each of the big games coming up, as Pirates radio producer Kevin Reitmeyer points out:

I’ve been pointing frustrated fans to this point left and right over on twitter. There is absolutely nothing but good that can be gained from sending out a fresh Cole to face probably four of the most important games down the stretch.

This is not the right move for another reason: Jeff Locke remains in the Pirates rotation.  While he didn’t pitch particularly horrible today vs the Reds, there is still an uneasy feeling in the stomach of many when he takes the mound. It’s also very curious that Hurdle did not endeavor to bring up Vance Worley, who has remained stretched out down at Triple-A Indianapolis. Still, this figures to be Locke’s last start in the rotation provided that Burnett looks to be close to his first-half form.

More on this as it develops.

Next: The Importance of Burnett's return