The Pittsburgh Pirates have set their NLDS rotation against the St. Louis Cardinals. The starters will be as follows:
Thursday – A.J. Burnett
Friday – Gerrit Cole
Sunday – Francisco Liriano
Monday – Charlie Morton (if necessary)
If the series goes to five games, Burnett could make the start on Wednesday, with more than normal rest. Liriano pitched last night, but would have five days rest by game three on Sunday. The only spots that were up in the air were the Friday and Monday spots.
At the end of the regular season, Charlie Morton was pitching after A.J. Burnett in the rotation. However, since the Pirates didn’t have to use Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card game, he was eligible to make the start. He threw a bullpen session last night during the celebration after the Reds game. Cole is a better option against the Cardinals, since Morton has struggled in his career against them. If you have to start Morton (and the Pirates don’t have a better fourth starter option), then it’s best to start him at home, in a pitcher friendly park.
The fact that the Pirates will have Burnett, Liriano, and Cole making four of five possible starts gives them a strong chance in this series.