Because of the travel days, Cole is going on normal rest, though by rotation schedule, it's AJ Burnett's start. But AJ's woes against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium have been pretty well documented, and Clint Hurdle decided that Gerrit gave the team the best chance to win. And he's right, even if we are surprised a bit, given the manager's loyalty to his veteran players.
The skipper told the media after Monday's game that "If this was any other venue, he (AJ) would have gotten the ball. But for me in this venue, this game, Cole is going to be our guy."
The main trend to watch for is that both Cole and Wainwright are sometimes slow starters and are prone to giving up first inning runs; that could be key in a contest like this.
The game starts at 8:07 PM and will be televised by TBS, with 93.7 The Fan and AM 970 ESPN covering the radio side.It's the only game of the day, so it will be more than a local showcase.
Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Neil Walker 2b, Andrew McCutchen CF, Justin Morneau 1b, Marlon Byrd RF, Pedro Alvarez 3b, Russ Martin C, Clint Barmes SS and Gerrit Cole P.
Cardinal lineup: Matt Carpenter 2b, Carlos Beltran RF, Matt Holliday LF, Matt Adams 1b, Yadier Molina C, Jon Jay CF, David Freese 3b, Pete Kozma SS and Adam Wainwright P.
Both managers are going with the tried and true.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs did an article on whether AJ or Cole should start today, followed by a poll that came out 75% in favor of Gerrit pitching the contest.
- The national gurus don't like the Bucs' chances tonight.
- Francisco Liriano will be available in the pen if Cole gets rocked early or if game goes into extra innings. AJ is not; he's the NLCS game #1 starter at LA if all goes well.
- The last Pirate rookie beside Cole to start a playoff game for Pittsburgh was Tim Wakefield against the Braves on October 13th, 1992. Though that series ended badly, Wakefield won the game and went 2-0 against Atlanta in the set. The last Bucco rookie to start a winner-take-all playoff game was Babe Adams in Game Seven of the 1909 World Series. He won and was 3-0 during the WS. Pittsburgh pups have, in fact, gone 7-0 in the post season crucible; they're 7-0 (John Candelaria also won in 1975). ESPN Stats notes that Cole will be third #1 pick to start a winner-take-all game, joining David Price ('10 ALDS) & Andy Benes ('95 ALDS).
- Pedro Alvarez has chased home a run in five straight postseason games. The record is held by 1b Clyde Barnhart with seven, compiled the World series of 1925 (Games #5-7) and 1927 (Games #1-4).
- Been a pretty even series this year. Through 23 games, the Bucs have a 12-11 slate against the Redbirds. As for runs, St. Louis has scored 102, Pittsburgh 99.
- The Pirates announced that they'll hold a block party for Game Five with a projection screen on Federal Street. Federal Street and the Clemente Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic at noon, and they will be street vendors for the hungry & thirsty.
- The winner plays the Dodgers Friday. If it's Pittsburgh, the series opens in LA; if it's the Cards, the series opens in St. Louis.
- Bucs and Ducks give the DT economy an autumn boost.