Pirates rookie pitching sensation Gerrit Cole will not be shut down by the team if they reach the playoffs.
The question came in regards to how Stephen Strasburg was handled by the Washinton Nationals in 2012. Despite dominating major league pitching, Washington kept Strasburg on a strict innings limit. When he reached that total, he was shut down for the year.
The move was controversial and the Nationals failed to get past the Cardinals in the NLDS.
Of course, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are two different stories. Strasburg was coming back from Tommy John Elbow surgery. The Nationals were trying to protect their franchise pitcher.
The Pirates view Cole as their franchise pitcher. He did not enter this season coming back from elbow surgery though. Pirates GM Neal Huntington told FOX Sports that Cole will be on the Post Season roster if the Pirates make it. He did not specify whether Cole would be in the rotation or the bullpen.
With how Gerrit Cole has pitched in Pittsbugh, it would be hard to keep him out of the rotation. He has arguably been as dominant as Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett. In fact, Cole has five straight quality starts and was the winning pitcher in the Pirates historic 81st and 82nd wins.
During his interview, Huntington made it clear he has no idea where the pitching comparison comes from:
“You’ve got a pitcher coming back from injury that’s coming off very few innings the year before. We’ve got a pitcher that’s being built up…. I’m not quite sure why they’ve been made an apples-to-apples comparison, because they’re not.”
Huntington also said it was unfair to compare the Pirates strategy with Cole to the Nationals with Strasburg. If his pitcher was coming off surgery like Strasburg, Pittsburgh would have a different mindset.
Do you think the Pirates should shut down Gerrit Cole for the playoffs? Are the comparisons between Cole and Strasburg fair?