The Pirates set their sights on Justin Duchscherer

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Dejan Kovacevic is reporting that the Pirates are interested in Justin Duchscherer, though they don’t know if they’d use him in a starting or a relief role.  Probably depends on the state of his surgically-repaired hip and elbow, not to mention his psyche.

My first impulse was to make some sort of “pitching for the Pirates is no cure for depression” joke, but in all seriousness, Pittsburgh may just be the right place for a guy struggling to rediscover his place in the word. Assuming he’s physically healthy, he’d be among the Bucs’ best pitchers and would likely be given a nice wide berth in which to find his groove.

Plus, no matter how crappy the team is, Pittsburgh is actually a nice town with some pretty country around it.  Not a bad place to restore one’s mojo.

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.