Pirates ace Gerrit Cole will miss his next start Monday against the Cubs and will instead travel to Los Angeles to have his a specialist examine his sore elbow, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes (all Twitter links). An MRI did not reveal that Cole has ligament damage (and the Bucs haven’t yet placed him on the DL).
Cole has a fine 3.55 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 114 innings this season, but he’s pitched uncharacteristically poorly in his last four starts, with a 7.06 ERA and a .973 OPS against in that span. Losing him for any significant period of time would be a serious blow to the Pirates, who remain in the race for a National League Wild Card spot — the Bucs’ rotation has improved greatly this month thanks to strong performances from Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl and Ryan Vogelsong, but their rotation had previously been a significant problem.
Biertempfel guesses rookie Trevor Williams will take Cole’s start on Monday, although he notes that newcomer Drew Hutchison (who the Pirates acquired at last month’s deadline for Francisco Liriano and prospects) could also be a possibility. Williams, acquired in an offseason trade with the Marlins, has never pitched in the Majors.