For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be making the playoffs. They will probably clinch a postseason berth sometime next week, so it’s time to start thinking about potential playoff scenarios. I’m going to say it again, because it’s amazing to say: The Pirates, whether it is as a Wild Card winner or the National League Central winner, will be participating in the 2013 MLB postseason.
At this point, there are two options in my mind, but they are probably not the two most people would consider. One of them, Francisco Liriano, is probably the Game 1 starter for most people, but for me he isn’t. Gerrit Cole, rookie sensation, would be starting Game 1 of the playoffs if I were manager of the Pirates.
Oh no! A rookie starting Game 1 of the playoffs? That’s insanity, right? Wrong. Even though he is a rookie, Cole seems to have very good composure. There are no statistics that can prove how well composed he is. I can see by watching all of starts that not much will faze him. Sometimes he will have a rough first inning and it will look like he is going to have a bad start, but he will bounce back in the second inning and cruise the rest of the way. In his last two starts, Cole has really stepped up his game. His strikeouts have increased too.
Overall, Cole is 8-7 with a 3.33 ERA and 3.13 FIP. Liriano’s numbers are better … much better. However, he is either very good or terrible whereas Cole is consistent. When Cole starts, the Pirates are going to get six or seven innings with three or fewer runs allowed on most occasions.
Cole isn’t a kid; he is a big boy. He can handle a little pressure. His first batter he faced as a Pirate was a strikeout. He didn’t seem nervous at all in his debut; he handled it amazingly well. He will handle the postseason well too.