When A.J. Cole woke up Monday morning, he had every reason to believe he would spend most of the year in Syracuse. Although Joe Ross pitched poorly Sunday against the Mets, Cole’s performance with the Chiefs was not promotion worthy.
Then Ross was demoted that afternoon and Cole got the call. Missing the Diamondbacks series serving a three-game suspension for throwing behind a Pittsburgh Pirates hitter in September, the thought was he would join the bullpen this weekend.
Then Jacob Turner pitched four innings Wednesday night in relief and Cole is now starting Saturday. Not bad for a pitcher with an ERA of 6.63 and a WHIP of 1.789 in four starts and 19 innings.
Yet, here he is grabbing a surprise spot start in place of Ross and Turner. Now, before the nightmare of Jeremy Guthrie’s Saturday start in Philly flood back, Cole had eight big-league starts last year and pitched mediocre.
In those starts, Cole went 1-2 with an ERA of 5.17 filling in for the injured Stephen Strasburg. Expectations are lower this time with Turner eventually taking the starter role as Cole gets long relief. Maybe.
With limited numbers, Cole pitched well against Philadelphia. Saddled with a loss and a 5.79 ERA, he struck out 15 over 9.1 frames in two games. As with other games where the bullpen plays a big role, parental discretion is advised.