Gerrit is coming

The Pirates officially confirmed that Gerrit Cole will start on Tuesday against the Giants yesterday, and today Travis Sawchik at the Trib has a great article about Cole's trip through the minors. I'd recommend that you read the whole thing, but there were a couple of things that really stood out to me. 

One is that the Pirates have been working with Cole on steepening the plane of his fastball. A big criticism of him for his whole trip through the minors has been that when he leaves his fastball up in the zone, it gets flat and it gets hammered. This year he had one start where he served up a bunch of home runs (three against Buffalo on May 14), but otherwise he's only served up one homer. In fact, he's only given up multiple extra base hits in four of his 12 starts and it hasn't happened at all in his last three starts. 

The other part that I thought was interesting was when Sawchick mentions that Cole hasn't used his slider nearly as much this season so that he can focus on his curve, changeup, and commanding the fastball. That more than anything would explain the decline in strikeouts with Indianapolis this year. 

I know that there's some nervousness about his early-season struggles this year and about his low strikeout rate, but after seeing him pitch against Durham on Wednesday and reading this, I'm pretty convinced that what Clint Hurdle said in that first link up there is accurate: it's time. The Pirates aren't saying anything about his future beyond Tuesday's start, but I've got a feeling that once he's in a Pirate uniform on the mound at PNC Park, no one's going to want to look back. 

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.