Pirates leaning toward using Gerrit Cole as playoff reliever

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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.

Orioles’ pitching crosses 100 homers allowed mark in 48th game

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The Orioles’ pitching staff is on pace to obliterate the Reds’ record of 258 homers allowed in the season. When O’s starter David Hess yielded a three-run home run to Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier in the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game, that marked the 100th homer given up by a Baltimore pitcher this season. They have played 48 games so far, putting them on pace to allow 338.

The homer was Frazier’s second of the night. He had also gone yard with a runner on in the third inning. Gary Sánchez opened the scoring in the first inning with a three-run blast of his own. As of this writing, the Yankees are leading 11-3.

Not that it comes as any surprise, but the Yankees’ offense has the Orioles’ number so far this season. The club has hit 73 homers on the season with 26 of them — 36 percent — coming against the Orioles. The Yankees have played 10 of their 47 games — 21 percent — against the O’s. The Orioles have also allowed 23 home runs to the Twins in six games so far this season