Found August 02, 2013 on
The Pittsburgh Pirates' pitching staff looked nothing like the best in the majors Thursday, but Gerrit Cole's steady improvement offers hope things will be much different Friday night.
The Pirates try to forget about their most lopsided loss of the season by giving the ball to Cole in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
Pittsburgh (65-43) came into Thursday with a 3.03 ERA, the best in baseball by more than a quarter-run, after holding St. Louis to seven total in opening a five-game series with four wins.
The wheels came off in the finale, as starter Charlie Morton surrendered five runs in six innings before the bullpen was responsible for an eight-run seventh in a 13-0 loss that cut the Pirates' NL Central lead over the Cardinals to 1 1/2 games.
"We had kept the cat in the bag for four games," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Tonight, we let it out."
Pittsburgh's past two starters allowed a total of 20 hits - the club's worst back-to-back showing this season - and nine earned runs in 10 innings, but there's reason to believe those brief struggles won't continue.
Cole (5-4, 3.56 ERA) won four of his first five starts despite having a 3.94 ERA and striking out just 16 in 29 2-3 innings, but he's been better in his last four starts despite going 1-3. The right-hander has made it through seven innings three times - something he didn't do once in his first five outings - and posted a 3.16 ERA.
He's struck out 21 in 26 innings, including a season-high eight while going seven in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Miami. That impressed his counterpart, young Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez.
"He's a great pitcher," Fernandez said. "His stuff is good. I saw it hitting, and I didn't like it."
This will be Cole's first look at the Rockies (51-59), and it appears he'll catch at least one big break - if not two. Carlos Gonzalez likely won't play in this series after his sprained right middle finger flared up Wednesday, and fellow All-Star outfielder Michael Cuddyer's status is unclear after he missed Thursday's game to tend to a family issue.
Cole made his major league debut June 11, the same day Jhoulys Chacin (9-5, 3.54) began to reverse his early season woes. Armed with a 4.59 ERA coming into that outing against Washington, Chacin has since gone 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA in nine starts.
What bodes well for him Friday is how he's excelled away from Coors Field. The right-hander has a 1.90 ERA on the road, a mark that's on pace to surpass his own 2010 ERA (2.44) for the best outside Denver in franchise history.
What's far less encouraging for manager Walt Weiss is Chacin's brief track record against the Pirates. He's 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA in four starts and has allowed four homers in 20 2-3 innings - the same number he's surrendered in 127 innings in 2013 for the majors' best home run per nine innings rate (0.28).
Garrett Jones hit two of those, while Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez also have taken Chacin deep.
The Rockies have lost four of their last five series in Pittsburgh, but they have to be thrilled to be anywhere but Turner Field after the past four days. The Braves scored at least nine runs each time in a four-game sweep, capping it with Thursday's 11-2 win.
"I'll make sure that we still compete," Weiss said. "I don't question these guys in that respect. ... That's something that is expected all the time."
Colorado has been outscored 123-60 in losing 17 of 23 on the road.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
They said he would never return. Who said that? Well… (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Clint Hurdle had only one hope left. He tossed aside the morning paper, headline splashed “PIRATES LOSE 13-0,” and hopped into his pickup truck. He took the fast lane, following the signs for Indianapolis.
“Well, the man did say he wanted to get away from it all,” he thought.
FanGraphs projects Andrew McCutchen to finish the season at 7.0 wins above replacement. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a nearly 98 percent chance to reach the MLB postseason, averaging projections from Baseball Prospectus and Clay Davenport, and are expected to finish the season 93-69.
The combined playoff odds are the best in Major League Baseball and the...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates...
Charlie Morton is one of the best five starters for the Pirates rotation.
When it comes to any player in the majors, you’re going to get a variety of opinions. You’re going to get different opinions on how good a player actually is, and in some cases you’ll have a debate over whether the player is even good at all. There’s one player on the Pirates pitching staff who draws...
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In Altoona tonight, Casey Sadler makes his second start since coming back from a knee injury caused by a ball hit back up the middle from the first batter of the game in his June 30th start. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section to the bottom of this page, for all Pirates...
Episode 15 of The Pirates Prospects Podcast can be downloaded or streamed below. This episode includes analysis from Nate Barnes (@NateBarnes_TPN), James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) and myself (@timwilliamsP2) on the Pirates. Highlights of the show include:
**The trade deadline was extremely slow. We talked about what led to that slow deadline, and some of the reported prices on the...
Neal Huntington gave a press conference almost immediately after the trade deadline ended. I thought a bunch of the things he said were really interesting, and I'd recommend you check the quotes out (you can find them just about anywhere that has a writer with a press pass on staff, but Bucs Dugout has a nice summary here). The quote that everyone's pulled out is, of course...
There are four lefties among the probables today, including 2013 4th round draft pick Cody Dickson, who threw five no-hit innings his last time out. Kris Johnson, who is quietly having a big season, will be on the mound in Indianapolis. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section...
OF Alex Presley, who has been on the shuttle between Triple-A Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, was recalled by the Pirates on July 29 and has seen action in both left field and right field. Presley has gone 5-for-17 with two RBI in six games since being recalled from Indianapolis. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko caught up with Presley during the recent St. Louis series.
I suppose that as bouncing back from 13-0 losses goes, this wasn't ideal. Really, what happened was that one bad inning probably kept the Pirates from winning this game. Gerrit Cole looked really sharp in the first inning, but his slider flattened out a bit in the second and he gave up a home run to Troy Tulowitzki. He certainly didn't have his best outing tonight, but he...
The most exciting news to come from today’s MLB Trade Deadline had nothing to do with Michael Young, Hunter Pence, or Phil Hughes.
No, the best baseball moment of the day came during Intentional Talk when a Wookiee photobombed AJ Burnett during his interview with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose.
Article found on: Next Impulse Sports
RHP Jared Hughes has been activated off the disabled list. To make room on the roster Vic Black has been sent back down to AAA Indy. Victor Black was pretty bad while here, giving up two runs in 4.0 innings. He also allowed three of his four inherited runners to score, much to the chagrin…
No last-minute deals for #Pirates. They stand pat.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 31, 2013
As I wrote this morning, I thought that the Pirates had needs to address at the deadline today, but it's not actually an understatement to say that almost nothing happened all day. The Diamondbacks and Padres swapped Ian Kennedy and Joe Thatcher, the...
Altoona 3, Binghamton 2
The Altoona Curve scored two runs in the eighth inning and defeated the Binghamton Mets, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion on Wednesday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Adam Kolarek failed to preserve a one-run lead, surrendering three hits, including a go-ahead RBI single to Alex Dickerson, in the decisive inning.