Cole gets peeved, then gets curious hook
This is my third year of covering the Pirates and, to the best of my recollection, today was the first benches-clearing melee they have been involved in all that time.
No one is in favor of basebrawling. But everyone is in favor of a team showing some spunk. Clint Hurdle always preaches making the opposition “uncomfortable.” Brushing people off the plate is one way to do that. Speaking up against a perceived wrong is another way.
Except for last season’s detour, obviously no team has been as comfortable against the Bucs as the Brewers. They’ve shown up the Pirates for most of a decade on the field, in the box score. That’s the game, we get that. Showing them up in the batter’s box, though, is a different matter.
Gerrit Cole certainly thought so. Not like he called out an innocent angel. Check with Brian McCann.
Anyway, the best part of the incident, from the Pirates’ angle, was that it totally overshadowed what could have been the major post-game topic otherwise.
No one (I didn’t cover the game, taking a rare day off) apparently asked Hurdle about the removal of Gerrit Cole.
I’m not finding blanket fault with the move. There may have been very sound reasoning behind it. But the point is, the post-game question apparently never came up.
Although Cole left a fastball out over the plate for Mark Reynolds’ tying homer, he otherwise had a smooth eighth inning. He retired the side on only seven pitches. He averaged 95-plus on his fastballs in that inning. He finished it with a total of 91 pitches – by far his fewest in any start this season, and in fact his fewest since Aug. 8, when the Marlins chased him after five.
Yet, Hurdle called on Jason Grilli to protect a 2-1 lead against the same lineup sequence that had ambushed him 18 hours earlier.
So help me, when Grilli began by retiring Juan Segura, my immediate thought was, “Well, at least we’ll have a tie.”
Sometimes, I hate my instincts.