Season on the line, Pirates to turn to rookie Gerrit Cole

27 Comments

It’s not a surprise now, but it would have been a week ago: the Pirates will go to Gerrit Cole over A.J. Burnett in Wednesday’s decisive Game 5 against the Cardinals.

Burnett has won 26 games with a 3.49 ERA in his two seasons with the Pirates, but that’s all been undone by one hideous inning in the Game 1 loss. After starting off with a pair of scoreless frames, Burnett retired none of the seven hitters he faced in the third and all came around to scored in the 9-1 loss.

Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, followed that up with six innings of one-run ball in a Game 2 victory.

If Burnett’s Game 1 struggles were the end of it, the Pirates likely would have given him the ball again. However, the career 6.37 postseason ERA weighs heavily here. Mental toughness has always been a question mark with Burnett, and the fact is that the Pirates have more faith in the rookie right now.

Dating back to the regular season, Cole has won five straight starts. When the Pirates score three runs, they’re 19-1 with Cole on the mound.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
1 Comment

Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.