In his first major league start of what should be a career to track, Gerrit Cole looked every bit the part of first overall draft pick (2011) for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And not just against any old team, but against the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, against 2-time Cy Young Award winner and 4-time All Star Tim Lincecum. And his girlfriend’s brother happens to be the Giants starting shortstop (Brandon Crawford). Cole is an intimidating force, at 6’4″ and 240 pounds and probably some room to fill into his body as he matures.
The 22-year-old RHP from UCLA had a dream start striking out leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco on a 99 MPH fastball, scattered some early hits, then at one point retired 13 San Francisco Giants in a row. In the bottom of the second, he contributed heavily to his own cause by knocking in 2 runs on a bases loaded single to give his team a 2-0 lead. He got tagged for 2 runs, both after he left the game in the 7th inning which more than held up as the Bucs won 8-2, giving him his first (of what is sure to be many) victory. Overall, he allowed 7 hits over 6 1/3 innings, the 2 ER, with 4 strikeouts, no walks, and a HBP. And don’t forget his .333 batting average. For the record, Brandon Crawford was 1-3 against Cole, so Amy Crawford has had reasons to cheer for both her boyfriend and brother (although she’s made no bones about being behind the Swashbucklers on this one).
Depending on your fantasy baseball league’s waiver wire posture, now is the time to make that claim if he’s available. The upside is huge, plus, the Pirates are suddenly a strong NL contender, if not for the NL Central title, for sure for the Wild Card, as the NL East and West teams continue to scuffle.
- David Whitlock (@lhd_on_sports)
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