The last time Gerrit Cole went to the mound he had to face one of the leading Cy Young Award candidates in the American League in Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1 – 0 win and did so in dominant fashion. Even though the Rangers are in a slump, beating Darvish on a night when he had good stuff is nothing to be flippant over. It is also however not a reason for Cole to overlook his next opponent, the Chicago Cubs.
It has been said of the Pirates that they are not satisfied in their first winning season in a couple of decades. This is true because they know they are capable of more this year. Why be satisfied with your first goal when you can achieve a higher one? That is the exact same situation that Cole is in as the season draws to a close and the MLB playoffs loom nearer. It is one thing to be on top of his game against one of the game’s top pitchers but to keep that high level of focus when facing the less-than-stellar Cubs is something else.
What he does against the Cubs in the Pirates constant battle to remain atop the National League Central division will be critical. It is time for Cole to not be satisfied with how good he was last start and push to step to a higher goal. He needs to be the stopper, the go-to guy and the next ace of the staff. He is fully capable of more than even what he did against the Rangers so he needs to do exactly what he can and not relax after a great outing. I have a feeling that Cole will take charge over his last couple of starts in a big way.