That game stunk. The Yankees lost 4-1 and were almost no-hit in Ian Anderson’s major league debut. Gerrit Cole didn’t pitch well, either. Just two takeaways from this one. Let’s get to them.
Gerrit Cole has a home run problem. He’s allowed a homer in all seven starts this season and has now given up 10 in 41 innings total. That’s 2.2 per nine innings. Cole giving up dingers isn’t anything new — he surrendered 29 in 212 1/3 innings last year (1.2 per nine) — but the rate at which they’re coming this season is unlike him. Cole’s final line: 5-plus innings, 5 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts.
Ronald Acuña Jr., playing for the first time since returning from the injured list, took Cole deep to lead off the bottom of the first. It was a moonshot, folks.
That ball landed 473 feet away and came 114 MPH off the bat. It was the second longest homer of the year, only to Giancarlo Stanton. The Braves weren’t done there, though.
In the third, Cole hung two breaking balls and the Braves made him pay. First, Dansby Swanson hit an opposite field two-run homer to right that gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Then, Marcell Ozuna launched a solo blast to make it 4-zip.
Ronald Acuña Jr.: 473-foot HR— David Adler (@_dadler) August 26, 2020
Marcell Ozuna: 469-foot HR
Both off Gerrit Cole. Wow. pic.twitter.com/RbSsulz4Bs
Clearly, this wasn’t Cole’s day. He was missing bats (22 whiffs on 44 swings, 9 strikeouts), but when Atlanta made contact, they crushed him.
That’s ugly. We’ve really yet to see the overpowering and dominant Cole yet. Again, he’s yet to go a start without allowing a home run. He’s going to give up homers, but until we see him rack up double-digit strikeouts without allowing a home run, we will not have seen him at his best. I know that’s a lot to ask, but he is the ace of the staff.
Final note on Cole: this ends his undefeated start streak. He was 20-0 in his previous 28 starts.
These aren’t the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees looked hopeless against Ian Anderson today. The rookie making his MLB debut retired the first eight batters in order (including three strikeouts) before he walked Tyler Wade. The bigger story through this game: the 22 year-old Anderson carried a no hitter into the sixth inning. Luke Voit’s solo homer with one out broke things up. The dinger was Voit’s 11th of the year. Anderson finished this one with a line of 6 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 hit by pitch, and 8 strikeouts. A memorable debut, indeed.
Generally speaking, there’s no shame in getting beat by a good pitcher. Anderson’s prospect evaluations indicate that he will be one, if he isn’t already. Nonetheless, this Yankees lineup looked pretty punchless this afternoon. Aaron Judge was supposed to give this lineup a boost with Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu out, but Aaron Boone held Judge out for the first game of this doubleheader. Hopefully that’s nothing more than not wanting him to play in both games of the double-dip.
Folks, this lineup really needs someone other than Voit to heat up. As long as the Yankees have to run out a 7-8-9 of Brett Gardner-Thairo Estrada-Tyler Wade, the first six hitters are going to need to pick up the slack. Hopefully Judge can pick up where he left off. It’d be really nice to see Gary Sánchez finally snap out of his season-long slump. Last year’s Next Men Up (Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford, and Gio Urshela) have either cooled off or not done much all season. Aaron Hicks has been pretty quiet aside from a bunch of walks.
- Game two should start around 7 p.m. EDT, about 45 minutes after this one ended. Masahiro Tanaka faces Max Fried.
- Luis Cessa relieved Cole with two on and no one out in the fifth. He allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but allowed no further damage.
- Even if Anderson completed a no-hitter today, the league wouldn’t have recognized it. Elias Sports Bureau, the league’s official statistician, says so. Anyway, the last time the Yankees were no hit (or involved in a no-hitter)? June 11, 2003 against the Astros.