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.

Cody Bellinger continues to lead all All-Star vote-getters

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As you’ll recall, we have a new All-Star voting system in place this year. It’s a two-tiered system.

The “the Primary,” is underway and runs through June 21. That’s just the regular “vote for whoever you want stuff.” After it’s over, the top three vote-getters at each position will then be placed on a new ballot — “The Starter’s Election” — from which fans will then vote again during a single 28-hour period to decide who starts the All-Star Game. The results of that will be announced on June 27. The bench guys and pitchers and stuff will be chosen as usual, with full rosters announced a couple of days later.

Major League Baseball just gave us an update of who’s leading the primary. The overall leaders at each position break down thusly:

Here are the more extensive leaderboards, with the shaded names belonging to players who, if voting stopped now, would make the second round. First, the American League:

And now the National League:

Vote early, vote often.