First Call: Gerrit Cole makes more history; Steelers fans OK about life after Ben Roethlisberger? |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Gerrit Cole makes more history; Steelers fans OK about life after Ben Roethlisberger?

Tim Benz
Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole waves to the crowd as he leaves the mound after striking out Texas Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo for his 300th strikeout of the season during the sixth inning Sept. 18, 2019, in Houston.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger heads to the locker room as time runs out in a 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

In Thursday’s “First Call,” the Browns are banged up. Gerrit Cole reaches a rare pitching milestone. Some Steelers fans don’t understand the loss of Ben Roethlisberger.

Cole keeps counting

As things keep getting worse in Pittsburgh, Gerrit Cole keeps getting better in Houston.

The former Pirates starter got his 300th strikeout of the season Wednesday night.

The other two Astros to reach that mark were J.R. Richard and Mike Scott.

Cole improved to 18-5 as the Houston Astros won 3-2 over the Texas Rangers. The right-hander allowed two runs while striking out 10 to earn his 14th straight win. The victory clinched at least a wild-card spot for Houston.

That’s five straight wins for the Astros and 100 for the season. lists Cole as just the 18th major league pitcher since 1900 to strike out at least 300 batters in a season.

Ponder this

Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan posted this poll about Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury.

At the time of our post, 45% actually voted “no.” That means nearly half of the Steelers fan base is stupid, lying to itself or too young to remember life before Big Ben.

Or all of the above.

If you aren’t at all worried about losing a Hall of Fame quarterback off your roster, you don’t get it.

From 1992-2003, the Steelers were loaded in the running game and defense.

Yet, they got to just one Super Bowl and won none. And that was in an era when quarterbacks were less relied upon than now.

If any Steelers fan thinks an average Joe can just slide in to play that position and win a Super Bowl, you forgot — or are intentionally ignoring — those years.

So let’s hope Mason Rudolph is much better than an average Joe.

Oh no, Njoku

A blow for the Cleveland Browns.

According to the Associated Press, tight end David Njoku suffered a broken wrist. It is believed that injury occurred during this scary fall.

Njoku is also believed to have suffered a concussion. Njoku had four catches for 37 yards in Cleveland’s opener.

Former Steelers offensive lineman Chris Hubbard (foot), linebacker Christian Kirksey (chest) and safety Damarious Randall all missed practice Wednesday. The Browns face the NFC-champion Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

Speaking of the Rams

Los Angeles is dealing with an injury concern, too.

It’s a familiar name to Pittsburghers. And a big name at that.

Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald is dealing with a back issue.

According to, the former Pitt Panther was limited in practice on Wednesday. Donald briefly exited Sunday’s win over the Saints with a back injury, but he returned to action.

Donald has only missed two NFL games.

Yaz & Yaz

On Tuesday, Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Over 23 years, his grandfather, Carl, hit 237 there as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

It was a pretty cool moment.

So was this. Wednesday night, Mike caught the ceremonial first pitch from his grandfather.

Yastrzemski had another hit Wednesday. The Giants won 11-3.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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