HOUSTON (KDKA) — Former Pirates ace Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound against his previous employer for the first time since he left Pittsburgh.

Cole will face Trevor Willams and the Pirates Tuesday night at MinuteMaid Park in Houston at 8:00 p.m.

Cole was traded to the Astros back in January of 2018 for pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz as well as third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin. Many said Houston stole Cole away at a bargain, and he has been very solid for the organization, but the Pirates did receive a decent return. It is important to point out that all of the players listed in return for Cole are currently on the 25-man active roster for the Bucs.

Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Jason Mackey reports that Cole is excited to face his first team.

“I’m excited to see some of my friends, that’s for sure,” Cole told Mackey. “I anticipate there being probably more emotions than usual, but as far as preparation, I’m just treating it like a normal start, with the anticipation that there may be a little extra juice. I’m just going to try and not be surprised by that.”

Cole has not looked back since the trade, becoming one of the league’s best pitchers for Houston. So far this season, Cole is 6-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 16 games. Cole also has a league-high 148 strikeouts in 96.2 innings pitched. He also leads the league in strikeouts/9 innings at 13.8.

In 2018, Cole was an All-Star for the Astros, with a 15-5 record and a 2.88 ERA plus 276 strikeouts in 200.1 innings. His 12.4 Strikeouts/9 innings led the league as well. Cole finished 5th in the Cy Young Awards in 2018.