When the Pirates drafted Gerrit Cole, they imagined him taking the mound and winning big games for the Pirates. It's impossible to say that any team with the record that the Pirates have and with the lead that they have on the Giants for the last wild card spot is playing a "must-win" game in July, but I think that everyone on the field and in the stands would feel a lot better with a win over the A's tonight. Cole's last few starts have been pretty tantalizing; he's mixed great stuff with middling results. Tonight would be a good night for him to put everything together and turn in a gem. If the weather allows him to, that is.
Neil Walker is out of the lineup tonight and Josh Harrison is in Pittsburgh. Because of the new "taxi squad" rule, the Pirates have 24 hours to decide whether to put Harrison on the roster or not. Because he was demoted less than ten days ago, someone has to go on the disabled list for him to come back, so presumably disabling Walker is what's being considered. Clint Barmes and Jordy Mercer will start tonight, which means that Brandon Inge will pinch-hit in a high leverage situation and probably still find a way to make an out with runners on base.
Dan Straily starts for the A's and he's been up and down all season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.