By Jared Lankes
Gerrit Cole has not fared well recently, pitching to an ERA above five since the All-Star break. People everywhere have been trying to pinpoint the exact problem with Cole. While it might be just a bad stretch for him, which happens to everyone. However, it is still worth exploring one potential reason for his struggles. This reason being the lack of Chris Stewart.
Cole had pitched much of the 2015 season with Chris Stewart behind the plate. It almost became a personal battery. Cole enjoyed his best season in 2015 and was one of the top starters in the National League. This season, the Pirates have gone away from a Cole-Stewart battery. Though, it hasn’t helped that Stewart has been hurt for awhile.
The Pirates trying to pair up a battery of Cole and Cervelli hasn’t been successful overall. Cole’s numbers have dropped off since the change. Whether this is a coincidence or actually a trend remains to be seen. Most of Cole’s numbers in his career have been better with Stewart back there than any other catcher.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of personal catchers, but I am a fan of Gerrit Cole pitching well. If the reason behind that is the comfortability of a Cole-Stewart battery, then the Pirates need to try it once Stewart gets back. The Pirates need to pull out all the stops to get their ace right, so they can make a push for the playoffs once again. The rotation has been better lately after the overhaul, but they go nowhere without Gerrit Cole, it’s that plain and simple. Getting Cole corrected is important, and Stewart might just be a catalyst for that.