Gerrit Cole tossed seven shutout innings last night as the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992–when he was two years old–but the standout rookie may not be starting any playoff games.
According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, manager Clint Hurdle “indicated Cole’s postseason role would be in the bullpen.”
Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett have been the Pirates’ two best starters all season, but the choice for No. 3 starter is an interesting one. Wandy Rodriguez likely would have been the pick, but he’s hurt. Jeff Locke made the All-Star team, but has fallen apart since. Charlie Morton has been very good since coming off the disabled list. And then there’s Cole, who has a 3.48 ERA in 16 starts and has allowed more than three runs just twice.
Of course, if the Pirates don’t win the NL Central crown they’ll have to win the Wild Card play-in game or their choice for No. 3 starter will be moot.
NORTH PORT, Fla. — The Atlanta Braves will open the season with two rookie left-handers in their rotation while giving right-hander Kyle Wright more time to prepare for his first start.
Wright was told Sunday he would start the season on the 15-day injured list. He was the only 20-game winner in the majors last season but had a slow start this spring after getting a cortisone shot in January to address a shoulder issue.
Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd, who each have impressed the team this spring while competing for what was believed to have been one spot in the rotation, were told Sunday they will open the season with the team. The Braves optioned Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder to Triple-A Gwinnett on March 14 to clear the path for Shuster and Dodd.
Shuster, 24, was Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 2020. He is expected to start in the Braves’ third game at Washington on April 2.
Dodd is expected to take the No. 5 spot in the rotation and start on April 4 at St. Louis.
Both rookies have impressed the Braves with good control this spring.
Shuster has posted a 1.45 ERA in five spring training games. He has 18 strikeouts and only four walks in 18 2/3 innings.
Dodd, 24, has a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings this spring, with 20 strikeouts and four walks. He was a third-round draft pick in 2021.
Wright was 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA in his breakout 2022 season.