Rob Biertempfel reports that the Pirates will start Gerrit Cole on Sunday only if the Pirates have something to play for that day. If he doesn't start, the Pirates could use him in the one-game playoff.
This is a pretty obvious decision. If either the Pirates or the Reds win the first two games of the series, home-field advantage for the one-game playoff will be decided before Sunday's game, and (unless the Cardinals struggle this weekend and the division is still in play) there won't be any reason for the Pirates to do anything but rest on Sunday. It makes no sense to start Cole in that scenario, and the Pirates will likely go with Brandon Cumpton or Kris Johnson or someone else they don't plan on using in the playoffs. In any case, having the right-handed Cole follow the left-handed Liriano could make life tough on the Reds on Tuesday.