Pirates Set the NLDS Rotation

Gerrit Cole will start game two against the Cardinals. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Gerrit Cole will start game two against the Cardinals. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

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.

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Why not go with AJ in game 4 on normal rest? You would either hope to win the series (and avoid game 5) or trying to fend off elimination?

Stephen Stasa

Game 4 would mean Burnett would be on short rest. There are only 4 days between games 1 and 4 (Oct 3 – Oct 7) so he’d be on 3 days rest.

Stephen Stasa

However… I just looked up his stats on 3 days rest and he has a 2.33 ERA in 4 starts with a slash line of 192/279/293. Cole could then start game 5 on normal rest (Oct 4 – Oct 9) if needed.

Depending on how the series goes, you could still see this. Just because Morton was announced as the game 4 starter doesn’t really mean all that much.


Also depends on how many innings and pitches Burnett throws in today’s game.


I posted in another article but I find it odd that Lynn is starting game 2 vs Cole. Lynn is IMO the weakest of the 4 Cardinals starters and he should either be pitching game 4 or game 3. Game 3 because Liriano at PNC is a game Matheny could almost use as a “throw away” while gearing up to have an advantage in the other four match ups.

Burnett has been brutal at Busch since joining the Pirates. I’m not arguing Hurdle for starting him twice there, I’m just saying it’s an unfortunate disadvantage heading into the series. Kelly has dominated the Pirates. I’d pitch him in game 2 and try to get a 2-0 lead heading into the Liriano start. Throw your weakest pitcher Lynn, if you lose, you still get Morton and AJ which St. Louis would be favored again.

Now instead of St. Louis being favored in 4 of 5 potential games, I think it’s down to 3.

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