Pirates notebook: Cole gets start in Game 2

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 8:48 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — The Pirates will start rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole in the second game of the NL Division Series.

Cole will pitch Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Left-hander Francisco Liriano will start Sunday in Game 3 at PNC Park.

Right-hander Charlie Morton would start a potential Game 4 on Monday in Pittsburgh. Morton last pitched Sept. 28, but he probably could use some extra rest for his sore foot.

Cole was available out of the bullpen Tuesday when the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2, in the NL wild-card game, but he didn't pitch. While the rest of the team was celebrating in the clubhouse after the victory, Cole threw a bullpen session.

It will be Cole's first career outing against the Cardinals. In 19 starts this season, he went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

Right-hander A.J. Burnett was tabbed to start Game 1 on Thursday. On Wednesday afternoon, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle tried to be coy when asked about Cole's role in the rotation.

“If you saw him throwing (Tuesday night), then why is there confusion?” Hurdle said. “He might be in line to pitch the second game. I'll get with you (Thursday) on who will start Game 2, not today.”

Two hours later, the Pirates announced their rotation for the first four games of the NLDS. If the series goes five games, the Pirates could start either Burnett (on five days' rest) or Cole (on regular rest).

Cardinals' rotation murky

Adam Wainwright will start Game 1, and Lance Lynn will go in Game 2 for the Cardinals. Manager Mike Matheny declined to reveal how the rest of his rotation will play out, other than to say all five starters will be on the NLDS roster.

“We'll make our adjustments as we go,” Matheny said. “We'll have two of the starters available for Game 1. You can plan on seeing (Michael) Wacha and Shelby Miller both down in the 'pen for Game 1.”

The 10th man

The Cardinals and the Pirates were buzzing Wednesday about the supercharged energy from the packed house at PNC Park for the wild-card game.

“That atmosphere was rocking in Pittsburgh,” Wainwright said. “It's absolutely one of my favorite stadiums in baseball. I've been telling people that for years. Whether there are 8,000 people in the stands or 40,000 people, that stadium is beautiful. So it's good to see it packed. We'll enjoy that atmosphere, no doubt.”

Burnett was asked if he expected the crowd in St. Louis to try to distract him the way Pirates fans tried to rattle Reds starter Johnny Cueto.

“I've had crowds get on me before — really loud ones — so I'll be ready for anything,” Burnett said.

TV tidbits

Game 2 at 1 p.m. Friday will be broadcast on MLB Network. … Starting times for Games 3 and 4, both at PNC Park, have not been officially announced. However, the TBS website lists the time for Sunday's Game 3 as 5 p.m. … According to TBS, the NL wild-card game drew a 33.7 rating, making it the highest-rated MLB game ever in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati, the second-highest-rated local market, had a 16.6 rating. Nationally, the game had a 3.0 rating. Nationally, it's estimated that 4.6 million viewers saw the game.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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