In the minors Gerrit Cole’s strikeout rate never quite matched his excellent raw stuff, as the former No. 1 overall pick totaled a modest 114 strikeouts in 133 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
After being called up to the Pirates in June he continued to miss an underwhelming number of bats, managing just 29 strikeouts in his first 49 innings and failing to whiff more than five batters in any of his first eight starts.
Lately, however, Cole has started racking up strikeouts. Today he whiffed a dozen Padres in six innings, which gives Cole a total of 65 strikeouts in 63 innings since July 28. Overall this season he has a 3.23 ERA and 94/27 K/BB ratio in 111 innings while allowing just seven homers as a 22-year-old rookie, which is one of many reasons why the Pirates’ success is likely to continue long past this season.
It’s been one issue after the next for Indians reliever Andrew Miller, and on Saturday, the left-hander landed back on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. According to comments made by club manager Terry Francona, Miller’s knee has been a problem since the start of the year. The team has yet to determine a concrete timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Miller, 33, hasn’t looked like his usual sub-2.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR self this season, though he paired a 4.40 ERA and 6.3 BB/9 with an impressive 14.4 SO/9 across his first 14 1/3 innings. A left hamstring strain and minor back injury hampered his effectiveness on the mound, though this appears to be a more serious issue — especially given the five weeks he spent recovering from a tendon injury in his right knee last year.
In corresponding moves, the Indians designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment and recalled Triple-A right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall. Taylor, 25, was working on a 3.63 ERA, 1.0 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 through 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Columbus, while 28-year-old Marshall turned in a terrific 0.77 ERA, 0.8 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over his first 11 2/3 innings. Neither reliever has pitched more than a handful of innings at the big league level in 2018.