Cole was roughed up by the Cards in his last outing, and is topping out as a six inning guy. His greatest asset is also his biggest problem; he leans on his fastball too heavily, and teams are sitting on it, catching up to it after two or three at bats. The Cole Train has to command, and more importantly, trust his secondary stuff.
Gerrit has fared OK in limited exposure to the Cubs. He's 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career starts. Cole's met them once this year in April, striking out 10 batters and winning a 5-4 decision at Wrigley.
Travis Wood is fighting for a job next year; he's a candidate to be non-tendered by the Cubs in the off season because of this year's body of work. His strong 2013 season (9-12, 3.31) may have been an outlier, although his ERA in August was a much more manageable 3.54, with a couple of good starts. So we'll see what version of Wood shows up today.
The lefty is 1-1 this year in three starts against the Bucs, and given up nine runs in 17-2/3 IP, exactly three per start. Lifetime, he's 5-6/3.43 versus Pittsburgh.
The Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Jose Tabata RF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Brent Morel 3B and Cole P. Josh could be back in the lineup soon; the Pirates put him through some pre-game drills hoping that he may be ready to go today.
The games starts at 2:20 and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Bangin' 'Em Out: Starling Marte has a six game hitting streak.
- The Great Race: The Pirates enter today 4-1/2 games out of first place behind the front-running Cardinals in the NL Central and 1/2 game out of the second Wild Card spot behind the Brewers and Braves. After 142 games last season, Pittsburgh was 1-1/2 games out of first place behind St. Louis in the division and tied for the Wild Card lead with the Reds.
- Cannonball Coming: Jordy Mercer is the first Pirate shortstop to hit 10 HRs in a season since Jack Wilson banged out 11 in 2007.
- Ouch: Bill Brink of the Post Gazette reported that we shouldn't be holding our breath waiting on Charlie Morton to return this season.