Gerrit Cole Named The Pirates Opening Day Starter
Gerrit Cole will be the Opening Day starter for the Pirates
For the first time in his Major League career Gerrit Cole will start on Opening Day. On Saturday afternoon Pirate manager Clint Hurdle announced that the right-handed starter would get the ball on Opening Day. The Pirates will open the season against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 3rd.
Had it not been for an injury in Spring Training Gerrit Cole may have been the Pirates’ Opening Day starter last season. However, that honor was bestowed upon Francisco Liriano for a third consecutive season. While this will be Cole’s first career Opening Day start, it will almost assuredly not be his last.
Clint Hurdle also made two other announcements about the Pirate rotation on Saturday. He announced that Jameson Taillon will start game two of the team’s season opening series against the Red Sox. Additionally, Ivan Nova will get the ball in the home opener against the Atlanta Braves on April 7th.
What remains unknown is who will start the final game of the opening series in Boston. However, Chad Kuhl would appear to be the favorite. While the other two spots in the Pirate rotation are not known at this time, Kuhl is as close to a lock as it gets. Barring injury, it would be very surprising if Kuhl did not make the rotation to start the season.
Due to the Pirates’ off day during the season’s opening week, they will not need their fifth starter until the 10th of April. And the fifth starter’s spot is the biggest competition in camp for the Pirates this spring.
The job appears to be between Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, and Tyler Glasnow. However, Glasnow will most likely begin the season at Triple-A. As I wrote about here, I am of the belief that Hutchison is the best option for the fifth rotation spot right now.
Next: Bucs Win Grapefruit League Openers
While the team’s complete rotation is still an unknown, we now know some more information about the Pirate rotation. Gerrit Cole will start Opening Day, Jameson Taillon will start the second game of the season, and Ivan Nova will get the ball in the home opener.