Gerrit Cole took care of business against the Cubs Sunday and backed up his play with some bold statements.
After tossing eight shutout innings and helping the Pirates beat the Cubs for the first time in their last eight tries, Cole doubled down on his performance.
When a reporter posed the question that Cole just shut down the best team in baseball, the Pirates pitcher politely corrected the statement:
"It's just an opportunity to salvage the series," Cole said. "I don't really think they're the best team in baseball."
Of course, the Cubs are currently the best team in baseball - the only team still in the single digits in the loss column halfway through May.
The Cubs sit at 27-9 overall with a +109 run differential. In fact, their run differential was higher than the next two teams (Red Sox +58) and Cardinals (+46) combined entering play Sunday.
Following Sunday's loss, the Cubs have outscored the Pirates 38-13 in the six head-to-head games this season.
Cole had a rough go of it last time out against the Cubs, failing to go even five innings while allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits and four walks. He was 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.947 WHIP in four starts against the Cubs during the 2015 regular season, but lost that one-game wild-card playoff when he surrendered four runs in five innings, including homers to Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler.