Gerrit Cole Will Make Major League Debut For Pirates On Tuesday

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2013

It's a debut many Pittsburgh Pirates fans have anxiously been awaiting since the 2011 MLB draft.

Top right-handed pitching prospect Gerrit Cole will finally make his MLB debut Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, according to the Pirates' official Twitter account:

Cole, who was the top overall selection in that draft, has been solid for the Indianapolis Indians at the Triple-A level this season, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched. 

In his season-and-a-half at the minor league level, he's gone 14-10 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 183 strikeouts in 200 innings. Not too shabby at all for the vaunted youngster.

The Pirates have been quite good this season, currently 36-25 and second in the Central Division. The starting pitching trio of Jeff Locke, A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez has been solid if unspectacular, while the bullpen is arguably the best in baseball, with closer Jason Grilli as the league leader in saves with 23.

Oh, and the Pirates lead all of baseball with 10 shutouts this year. From Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN):

The Pirates' 2-0 win on Friday was their major league-leading 10th shutout of the season. Pittsburgh reached double-figures in shutouts in its 61st game this year, the quickest that any big-league team has done so since 1989, when the Angels got to that total in their 46th game. It's the fewest games that the Pirates have needed to record their first 10 shutouts in 105 years! The 1908 club notched its 10th shutout in game No. 57.

Now, the team will add Cole to an already solid rotation. It's enough to get Pirates fans excited that a postseason berth could be on the horizon, and the playoff drought could come to an end after 20 seasons. 

Then again, the team looked like a wild-card contender through July last season before collapsing in August and September. 

But with Cole now reaching the majors with the potential to be a franchise ace for years to come—as well as some promising prospects still waiting in the minors—things are looking up for this Pirates team. If Cole steps in and shuts down the Giants, well, you can bet there will be a whole lot of optimism in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.


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