Gerrit Cole allowed five runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start last week, but the Pirates insisted they weren’t worried about those results and it appears that their confidence was well-placed.
Cole was sensational in his latest rehab outing Sunday with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, yielding just one hit over six scoreless innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. The right-hander only threw 73 pitches, which might preclude the Bucs from activating him this week, but the outing can still be considered a great sign of progress.
Cole has been on the disabled list for over a month with discomfort in his right lat muscle and suffered a minor setback at the beginning of August. He also missed time with a shoulder injury earlier this season.
The 23-year-old former first overall pick boasts a 3.46 ERA and 1.227 WHIP through his first 203 innings at the major league level. The Pirates — who are currently 2 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central standings — need him to be ace-like down the stretch.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Indians manager Terry Francona has set his starting rotation for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs. Corey Kluber will start Game One, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games Two and Three, respectively.
Kluber, the ace of the staff, has had a terrific postseason. He’s made three starts with a 0.98 ERA and a 20/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings. The Indians won two of his starts — Game Two of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
Bauer was unable to make it out of the first inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Blue Jays after the stitches on his pinky opened up and caused blood to pour out. He suffered the injury repairing one of his drones, which he builds as a hobby. Bauer insists he’ll be good to go in Game Two, though he also insisted that the injury wouldn’t be an impediment against the Jays.
Tomlin has made two solid starts for the Indians, allowing a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings. The Indians won both games he started, Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 2 of the ALCS. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that if Bauer can’t go in Game Two, Tomlin will be moved up to start in his place.