Despite some success, Pirates rookie Cole a disappointment

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Random mid-day thoughts:

• Gerrit Cole is having a wholly acceptable rookie season, pitching well in the rotation of a championship-caliber team. So why am I disappointed? The answer is easy: I expected more.

Call me naive, but I expected Steven Strasburg. I expected Jose Fernandez. I expected spectacular and dominant. Instead, I'm seeing steady and competent.

The Pirates have used 10 starters this year and none throws harder than Cole. Yet in measuring strikeouts, an accomplishment that usually goes hand-in-hand with velocity, Cole ranks eighth among those 10.

He is ahead only of Jeanmar Gomez and Brandon Cumpton. His K/9 is 6.58. It's one thing to be behind A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano. But Cole is behind soft-tossing lefty Jeff Locke, Jonathan Sanchez and Phil Irwin.

As stated, Cole, who is 6-6 with a 3.81 ERA, is having a nice season. He figures to go on to a nice MLB career. But his beginning is disappointing.

• The notion being spewed in some media circles that the great Ichiro Suzuki has 4,000 hits is utter nonsense. If he has 4,000 hits, Stan Heinricher holds the record for most no-hitters in a single season. Both accomplishments, partially or fully, were done outside of MLB. Therefore they do not count.

Ichiro got his first, 1,278 hits in the Japanese Pacific League. That counts as much as Heinricher's six no-hitters in 1962 in the Stanton Heights Little League.

Yes, that's an extreme example. But the Japanese Pacific League, whatever it is in Japan, is a minor league. That doesn't count.

Let me phrase it this way: If Ichiro has 4,000 hits, Matt Hague has 784 -- 16 in MLB in 768 in 'American professional leagues.'

• The five-game suspension levied against Boston pitcher Ryan Dempster for repeatedly throwing at Alex Rodriguez is an absolute joke and shame on MLB for going so easy on a violation that demanded far more punishment.

Dempster was suspended for five games and fined $2,500. He'll barely miss his turn. His next start will be Tuesday, three days after his normal turn. Big deal. As for the fine, based on his salary of $13.25 million, it's the equivalent of $10 to a guy making $50,000.

New York manager Joe Girardi was fined $5,000 for his perfectly understandable tirade against umpire Brian O'Nora.

Rodriguez appears to be a bad guy and a big-time cheater and liar. It's up to the MLB justice system to take him down and it will. By throwing at Rodriguez three times, Dempster did nothing but show himself to be a coward.

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First Published August 22, 2013 5:15 PM


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