Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*

1. Gerrit Cole was rocked in the Pirates 7-4 loss to the Brewers Tuesday night. Cole lasted just four innings, matching the shortest start of his career, and allowing five runs, which also matched the most he has ever allowed.

“I didn’t work down, I didn’t work efficiently,” Cole told reporters of his performance.

Cole since the All-Star break is 2-5 with a 3.36 ERA and opponents are hitting .261 against him.

“I looked [at the tape] and I don’t have all the answers,” Cole said of his start Tuesday night. “The stuff was kind of flat, not very crisp, and poor execution as well. I just got beat up real quick.”

It’s not panic time for Cole but there’s only been a handful of dominant starts over the last eight weeks, and you need your ace trending in the right direction heading into September. Is he starting to wear down?

The best thing the Pirates can do is getting Cole comfortable again. If it takes making Chris Stewart the permanent catcher again for Cole, then do it.

Cole’s ERA is .211 when Stewart catches, .358 when Cervelli catches him.

2. The Pirates are nine games below .500 vs the Central Division (21-30), the Cardinals who are now six games ahead of the Pirates in the division, are 14 games above .500 vs the Central (32-18). Easy to figure out.

3. Mike Tomlin says Martavis Bryant’s issues are bigger than football. If the Steelers truly believe that and there is concern Bryant might be heading down a Josh Gordon path, then the Steelers should shut him down beyond the suspension and get him the needed help. Don’t follow what the 49ers did with Aldon Smith.

4. A normal restructure in the NFL is players just getting the bulk of their owed salary for that particular season upfront and the player earning no additional money for that season. NFL contracts are not guaranteed so the Antonio Brown restructure that saw the Steelers advance him $2 million from his 2016 salary is very rare for them to do and unique as Brown said.

If Brown has anyone to thank it’s Mike Tomlin who was pushing being the scenes that Brown’s situation was a special one.

“They could’ve told me to stick to my original deal,” Brown said Tuesday. “I am deeply grateful and have tremendous gratitude. They didn’t have to do it. It just shows what they think about me. … There were a lot of great players around here and I don’t think they ever did such a thing like that. I tip my hat to them.”To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!