With the wild card game approaching us at terminal velocity, we're getting some news about how the Pirates will build their roster tomorrow (remember: the wild card game is considered its own round of playoffs, so the winner can reshuffle before the NLDS). Tom Singer up first:
#pirates will go with 9-man pitching staff in WC game: Liriano, Cole, 7-man pen.— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) September 30, 2013
Bill Brink has the seven relievers:
Hurdle: 7 regular relievers on playoff roster. Means Grilli, Melancon, Wilson, Watson, Mazzaro, Morris, Gomez.— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) September 30, 2013
This is just about what I think was expected, though I do think that it's worth noting that the Gerrit Cole is the only starter on the roster besides Liriano. That means that if you were hoping that Cole was on the roster to come into the game in a situation where the Bryan Morris or Vin Mazzaro roller coasters might normally function, you're probably going to be disappointed tomorrow night. It looks to me like Cole is on the roster for long relief in the case of a bad Liriano start or extra innings.
Of course, maybe Clint Hurdle's secretly plotting a surprise piggy-back start with Liriano and Cole with the hopes of cruising through seven or eight innings with two starters at max-effort. I kind of doubt it, but it'd be awesome.
I kind of hope they use Cole similar to how the Rays used Price back during his rookie season (as your go-to reliever in key relief situations). I have no idea if Cole is calibrated to that sort of usage but it would give a much-needed boost to the bullpen. As I look at things, I assume the Pirates go with a 3 man rotation at least in the LDS with AJ & Chuck on Thurs/Fri and then bringing back Liriano on Sunday so unless Cole pulls a Bob Walk (92 NLCS Reference for you old timers!) at some point, they gotta get him some work in somewhere.