Sep 29, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws to the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

While he’s not slated to pitch, the short two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates marks Gerrit Cole’s first return to Pittsburgh since he was traded to the Houston Astros in 2018.

Cole met with the media contingent ahead of Tuesday’s game and was asked if he had any regrets from his five years in Pittsburgh. He offered one honest and hilarious response.

“I would probably take that slider back to Schwarber,” Cole told reporters.

Cole, of course, is referring to the two-run home run that he gave up to then-Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber in the third inning of the 2015 National League Wild Card Game that put the Cubs up 3-0. Schwarber finished the game with a game-high three RBIs – all of them coming against Cole.

Pittsburgh ultimately lost that game by a score of 4-0 with Cole earning the loss after giving up four runs on six hits through five innings. The Pirates have not been to the playoffs since.

Hilariously, Cole actually has made another not-so-fond memory of facing Schwarber in the postseason since then. Pitching for the Yankees, Cole faced Schwarber again when New York faced the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game in 2021. The results were similar – Schwarber crushed a solo home run, and the Red Sox won, eliminating the Yankees.

Maybe next time Cole faces Schwarber in the postseason, he’ll make use of the intentional walk.

[Alex Stumpf]