Photo: Keith Allison
Baseball is back!
Gerrit Cole (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Rick Porcello (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Time: Monday – 2:05
Game one of the series features the Pirates ace, Gerrit Cole, and the Red Sox reigning Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello. The Red Sox are projected to be one of the best teams in baseball this year. Despite winning the Cy Young last season, Gerrit Cole may be the better pitcher here. Porcello did get lucky last year on balls in play and winning the award was heavily driven by his 22 win total.
Gerrit Cole needs to have a bounce back year if the Pirates plan on making the playoffs. The Red Sox were the league leaders in runs scored last year, and despite losing David Ortiz, they still have one of the best offenses in the game. This will be a true test for Cole, and Vegas thinks he won’t be able to pass as the current line for this game has the Pirates as the underdog at +140.
Current injuries include Gregory Polanco for the Pirates and Mitch Moreland for the Red Sox. Polanco is suffering from a left shoulder injury and will be DH’ing in the opener. Moreland has the flu and his status is unclear.
Jameson Taillon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Chris Sale (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Time: Wednesday – 7:10
After going 93-69, the Red Sox added arguably the best pitcher in the AL to their rotation, Chris Sale. Chris Sale features an unorthodox delivery and some of the best strikeout stuff in the league. Last season he had a drop off in his strikeouts, but still struckout at least one batter an inning.
Jameson Taillon will look to improve upon his rookie campaign against a very tough lineup. This one will be an interesting one to watch. If he gets lit up for around 5 runs, theres not much you can do but point your finger at the Red Sox stacked lineup. If he goes 6 innings and gives up just a run and strikes out at least 5, then Taillon could really be looking at the start of a big season.
Polanco will likely take the day off to heal up as he sits frequently against lefties. And now that he won’t even be playing in the field, there will be no reason to put his bat against Chris Sale who struck out 31% of lefties he faced last season.
Chad Kuhl (0-0 0.00 ERA) vs Eduardo Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Time: Thursday – 1:35
This one features two sub 25 year old starters in Kuhl and Rodriguez. Despite being a year younger, Eduardo Rodriguez was promoted to the bigs a year earlier than Kuhl. Rodriguez was acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Andrew Miller. Rodriguez stats look worse than Kuhls, but Rodriguez started the season hurt and was clearly rusty when he returned. He was demoted to work things out, then once promoted he looked great. During his 2nd round of being up in the bigs he struck out over 10 batters per 9 innings and a 3.68 ERA. That is certainly impressive for a 23 year old in the AL East.
Chad Kuhl will look to keep things together against the powerful Sox lineup. I’m personally not a big believer in the righty, so if he manages to keep the Red Sox to just 4 runs in 6 innings I will be happy.
This one also features a southpaw pitcher, so Polanco may sit in order to heal up his shoulder before the Pirates home opener.