Edit ModuleShow Tags

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.




PHOTOS BY DAVE ARRIGO/PITTSBURGH PIRATES

 

Adaptability is vital for a big-league pitcher. Changing situations on the basepaths, unfamiliar batters at the plate, late-season pressures — any number of factors can contribute to make the last few innings of a vital September contest different than the tranquil calm of April.

So Gerrit Cole knows how to be adaptable. Good thing, too — because this year, he has pitched so well that it screwed up his plan for a wedding proposal.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher planned to propose to girlfriend Amy Crawford, a former softball player at UCLA, over the July All-Star break. Then Cole was named to the National League All-Star team.
 


“When we got word that I made it, I had to do a little bit of an audible,” says Cole, 24. Crawford said yes. “It was fantastic,” Cole adds.

See? Adaptable.

When Cole joined the Pirates in June 2013, he was a highly regarded prospect with the potential to be a long-term fixture in the team’s rotation. Two years later, he’s not only the workhorse ace of the staff, but he’s also among the most effective hurlers in the league. As of Aug. 10, he led the National League with 14 wins; his 2.39 ERA ranked fourth among N.L. pitchers.

Those numbers paved the way for Cole’s first All-Star appearance, in which he threw a scoreless third inning, allowing no hits and striking out Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout in the process. “It was really cool to be voted in by the players,” Cole says. He was selected not via the public round of voting — fans only vote for position players — but by his peers as a worthy member of the squad. “That carries a little [honor] in and of itself, if the people you’re competing against think that you should be there. That’s really special.”

If there’s any concern about Cole’s stellar 2015 season, it may be that he’s doing too well. His effectiveness also has put him among league leaders in innings pitched — 143.1 as of Aug. 10. That’s already a career high, with plenty of baseball yet to play.
 


“For the most part, [I’m] feeling good,” he says of the heavy workload. “But it’s the dog days, for sure. Everybody on the team feels it, and everybody on the other side of the field feels it as well. This is what separates teams.”

Pirates alum and color commentator Steve Blass — also a workhorse in his day, including a 1972 campaign in which he fooled batters for 249 innings — isn’t concerned about the young star. “I think he’s just a stud,” Blass says. “I think the harder you ride him, the more he’ll like it.”

“I love him because he is obsessed,” Blass adds. “He wants to find out how good he can be; not everybody has that ... He’s so emotional, he wants it so badly that he [sometimes] gets out in front, gets out of his rhythms, his flow, all that kind of stuff. But I never want to take that away from him — I want him to be angry out there.

“He’s still young; it’s just a matter of harnessing it. And he will. Controlled aggression, that’s what you want.”
 


As the regular season enters its final month, Cole is tasked with captaining the ship amid a tight playoff race; the phenomenal St. Louis Cardinals have made it nearly impossible for the Bucs to keep pace all year, likely leaving them to once again battle for one of two spots in the sudden-death Wild Card game — a game that Cole could end up starting.

When it comes to the standings, though, the 24-year-old has the pragmatism of a veteran.

“You pay attention to the standings by taking care of your own business,” he says. “We’re really good self-evaluators; we’re not going to compare ourselves to other teams.”

“And we haven’t played our best baseball yet,” he adds. It’s a tantalizing thought for Pirates fans; Cole says he is certain of it. “We haven’t. We’re getting closer.”  
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Ben and Bud Light ‘Dilly Dilly’ Mashup is Hilarious

Watch: Ben and Bud Light ‘Dilly Dilly’ Mashup is Hilarious

If the creator of the latest Bud Light commercial wasn't a Steelers fan, he is now.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

The over-the-top holiday-themed bar opens at the Original Oyster House the night after Thanksgiving.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

The new escape game is instantly among the best in town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Reviews of "Justice League," "Wonder" and "Lady Bird," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

This groom-to-be popped the question at new heights, potentially making him the first person to propose on top of the University of Pittsburgh’s signature structure.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

The developer behind Kaufmann’s Grand on Fifth Downtown promise to meld the historic with the modern as it readies to open more than 300 residential units featuring voice-command system Amazon Alexa, plus a rooftop infinity pool, restaurant and bar.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module