SOUTH HILLS – As we discussed here and on the Final Word on Sunday, the key for the Pirates in navigating a difficult September schedule – 17 road games, 9 home games – was getting their top-of-the-rotation arms to produce ace-like performances.
I felt this way for several reasons: For starters, there’s something to be said of the baseball axiom that you’re only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. There’s a reason the Vegas betting lines typically favor the better starting pitcher. That’s where it starts, in the center of the infield. …. But as we’ve discussed many times here, the root of home-field advantage is umpire bias, it’s borderline ball-strike calls (PITCHf/x has proven this). So to win on the road, you’re better served to have pitchers with plus stuff and command, and who can generate swings and misses and better get away with not living on the fringes of the strike zone.
On Monday, the Pirates needed Gerrit Cole to pitch like an ace. He pitched well at times but he wasn’t ace-like. He failed to protect two leads and now the Pirates have to face Adam Wainwright today. The Pirates need a great month from Cole if they plan to play in October. So how can Cole develop into a true No. 1 in short order? Continue Reading →