Following a cathartic 15-5 blowout of the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates suffered through a difficult Saturday afternoon at PNC Park.
Not only did the Bucs fall 9-3 to the first-place Brewers to level the weekend series, they also learned they would be without their young ace-in-the-making Gerrit Cole for his Sunday start.
According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the 23-year-old Cole will be shelved in favor of Jeff Locke for the last game of the Milwaukee series, with a trip the 15-day disabled list also a possibility. Cole’s reported ailment is shoulder fatigue.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the team’s medical staff would re-evaluate Cole’s condition after a few days. General manager Neal Huntington called the decision to sit Cole “precautionary.”
UPDATE: The Pirates placed Cole on the disabled list Sunday morning. Huntington is expected to address the situation prior to the series finale against the Brewers.
Cole, who usually throws his heater in the high 90s, was several miles per hour below that during his most recent starter in San Diego, leading the Pirates to believe that the burly right-hander needs some rest after 12 starts.
The first-overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft made 19 starts with Pittsburgh last season, supplementing the rotation as the team broke a two-decade playoff drought.
Cole posted a 3.22 earned-run average in his rookie MLB year, which started in mid-June. He’s at 3.62 this year, although his strikeout rate is up slightly to 8.1 per nine innings, counteracting a slight uptick in walks to 2.9 per nine.