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Gerrit Cole had plenty of excellent moments during the 99-win regular season, but he also did enough things wrong to raise suspicion among fans, particularly on social media.
Perhaps scarred by the AL-worst 33 homers allowed, including nine to Boston, and possibly frightened of a repeat of last night’s nightmare performance in the wild-card game at Fenway Park, the concern was present, as was the question:
Should Gerrit Cole start the first game of a playoff series?
It was not only a topic among fans but also a confidential discussion among the Yankees in their playoff planning meetings, albeit it appears
Insecure moments on Tuesday included Steven Kwan’s 2-0 fastball into the right field seats, which sent pitching coach Matt Blake for a brief conversation. Some felt a little uneasy during the subsequent few at-bats because Cole had already thrown 60 pitches after three innings when the bases were loaded.
One pitch after missing a call on a close pitch, Andres Gimenez struck out on a devastating slider to end the early 60-pitch sequence. Following short innings, Cole only let in two more baserunners as the Yankees took the lead.
ed to be a brief discussion before Cole was eventually picked to start.
Overall, Cole stated, “It was simply a really great experience.” “Just occasionally, when you sense the audience or the enthusiasm, it can be a little simpler just to turn the volume down. That makes logic to me, however, I’m not sure if it does to you. Just look at the wonderful atmosphere.
A few hours later, Cole was the talk of the first of the 11 victories the Yankees hope to secure in their first title since 2009, making it even more special for everyone involved. Cole had been waiting for this moment ever since he was introduced at the customary lavish press conference on December 18, 2019, the day he was accompanied by his infamous childhood sign: “Yankee fan forever, Yankee fan today.”
That sign first appeared in the 2001 World Series, 18 years before he received the record $324 million contract, but Cole was unable to play in the postseason in front of a full crowd in the Bronx until Tuesday for a variety of reasons.
It all started with the COVID-19 epidemic, which brought about the 60-game season. The Yankees were unable to host a home game during the short season due to a midseason slump, so they flew to Cleveland instead, where Cole dominated the first game. Then, two AL Division Series games against Tampa Bay were played in San Diego, and Cole contributed in Games 1 and 5, where the Yankees typically play in Tropicana Field.
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The Yankees stumbled through an erratic first half last year as baseball began to return to normal, which probably lost them to the AL East championship. Once they did, it was only for the trip to Boston, where Cole could not finish the third inning while pitching on a hamstring he tweaked during the Yankees’ seven-game losing streak a month earlier. Eventually, they found their footing, but they faltered once more in September. They ultimately failed to secure their postseason spot until their final at-bat of the regular season.
Robbie Ray, who was last seen in Houston allowing Yodan Alvarez to hit a 438-foot home run as the Yankees lined up for their baseline introductions, won the Cy Young award ahead of Cole.
On Monday, Cole gave answers at the podium in a short, clipped manner, as if he preferred the high-intensity environment of a bullpen session to a large room with historical images of the Yankees lining the side walls. He also gave his usual, in-depth responses. He related a conversation he had with Houston’s catcher Brian McCann there when he first arrived:
“You realize the playoffs are a drug, right?” I answered, “It is, indeed. It is “Simply put, you can’t get enough of it.
If Cole continues to throw as brilliantly as he did on Tuesday, the Yankees may see more than enough postseason action. There is still a long way to go, but this was a promising beginning and confirmation of Boone’s defense of Cole, who occasionally exhibits signs of agitation in certain situations.
Really good season, according to Boone on Monday. Naturally, given that Gerrit Cole is involved, given the size of the contract, he signed when he arrived, and given that the New York Yankees are the star of this stuff, nothing will ever be considered to be sufficiently good. But I believe he’s had a great year.
In keeping with his six scoreless outings and two close calls with no-hitters in June, it was adequate for one night.
Boone remarked, “Gerrit was pretty good. He did a great job of taking control of the situation and being unpredictable. Additionally, I thought his breaking ball was spot on.