Cole owns a 2.99 ERA TY but Pittsburgh is just 6-8. However....
My free play is on the Pit Pirates at 7:05 ET.
The Seattle Mariners won 7-4 at Pittsburgh last night and are now a MLB-best 10-3 in interleague play this season. The Mariners look to complete a sweep of their two-game IL series with the Pirates tonight in Pittsburgh. Seattle and Pittsburgh are both 51-48 but while the Pirates are within 2 1/2 games of the NL’s second wild card spot (two teams are ahead of them), the Mariners are 4 1/2 games out in the AL’s wild card race with three teams ahead of them. Tonight’s pitching matchup features James Paxton (3-4, 4.18 ERA) vs Gerrit Cole (5-6, 2.99 ERA).
Paxton has made 10 starts in 2016 with Seattle going 3-7 (minus-$527). Cole, who had a 2.60 ERA last year with 19 wins, has seen his ERA moderately rise so far in 2016 (to 2.99) but after 14 starts, he’s just 5-6 (team is 6-8). Cole spent more than a month on the DL and pitched poorly in his first start back (July 16), allowing FIVE runs in just four innings of a 6-0 loss at Washington. However, he rebounded from a that dismal effort last Friday vs the Phillies, allowing just ONE run on six hits in six innings but suffered a hard-luck 4-0 loss. Cole hasn’t won since May 20, going 0-3 with the Pirates going 1-5 in those six starts.
This marks Cole’s 88th career start but FIRST vs Seattle. Here’s the rub. Cole entered this season with a three-year record of 40-20, with Pittsburgh going 50-23 ($2,107) in his 73 starts. His ERA over that span was 3.07 but so far in 2016, his 2.99 ERA has allowed him to go just 5-6 (team is 6-8). I believe that will change down the stretch, as the Pirates look to earn a FOURTH straight wild card spot. My bet tonight says Cole’s turnaround starts right here.