That was a joy to watch. Gerrit Cole basically won this one all by himself, throwing eight shutout innings en route to a 1-0 win. Tampa Bay might as well have stayed in the dugout for the entirety of this one, because there was no touching Cole.
Some insurance runs would have been nice, but again, they weren’t needed. The offense broke through for its lone run on an Aaron Hicks sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. More on Cole, the offense, and some leftovers after the jump.
What more can be said about Gerrit Cole’s greatness? Seriously, there really isn’t any takeaway from tonight’s brilliant start. This is just what Cole does. Tonight’s eight shutout innings dropped his ERA down to 1.37. His FIP is even lower, 1.11. Just ridiculous. So instead of forcing a take on Cole’s start, let’s just talk about how great it was.
Tampa Bay’s offense stood absolutely no chance. The Rays mustered just four hits, and two of them were cheapies. One was Austin Meadows’ Tropicana Field special catwalk double, another was Willy Adames’ bunt single against the shift. Cole gave up just three batted balls classified as hard hits, per Statcast. Additionally, the team ace struck out 12 Rays and didn’t walk anyone. Just pure dominance from top to bottom.
Cole had just about everything working in his arsenal, but his fastball was clearly his best pitch. 23 of the 48 fastballs he threw were either whiffs or called strikes (48 percent). On top of that, the Rays whiffed on 16 of 26 swings (62 percent!) against the heater. Just ridiculous all around. The Rays offense is pretty pathetic, but this probably was the best fastball Cole has had with the team.
He kept throwing it upstairs and Tampa Bay couldn’t do nothing with it. It was pretty fun to see him just blow it by them over and over again. And his location on the rest of his arsenal was pretty good, too. Plenty of well spotted arm side sliders, for one.
Now, couple of neat tidbits to note from Cole’s performance.
First, Cole struck out Brett Phillips in the third inning for his 1,500th career strikeout. Per a graphic shown on the YES broadcast, Cole is the second-fastest pitcher to reach that mark in terms of games pitched. Only Randy Johnson (206) got there faster than Cole (212).
Cole is now at 56 strikeouts since his last walk. That streak is tied for third-longest this century, behind Liam Hendriks (77) in 2019 and Greg Maddux (61) in 2001 (excluding intentional walks).— Lucas A (@DBITLefty) May 13, 2021
And lastly, Cole now hasn’t walked a hitter in a month. He hasn’t issued a free pass since a 2nd inning walk against Toronto’s Lourdes Gurriel on April 12th.
More run support for Cole would be nice. Pitcher win/loss records aren’t front-and-center anymore, but it’s kind of amazing that Cole is now 5-1 considering the run support he’s gotten this season. He got one run behind him today, which was all he needed fortunately. Here are the numbers before tonight:
0-0 going into the bottom of the 6th…— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) May 13, 2021
Gerrit Cole's run support this season (8th start)
2 – 4 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 10 – 3 – 0 so far
This is entering Jacob deGrom territory, folks. Surely this won’t stand all season long, but Cole absolutely deserves better. I guess it didn’t help that tonight’s umpiring was…not great.
Home plate umpire Bill Miller had a pretty wide strike zone tonight, much to the Yankees chagrin. You could see a number of hitters frustrated, including Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier. Clint got ejected in the fifth inning, by the way. It’s the first time he’s been tossed.
Now, the Yankees did benefit from some called strikes off the plate too.
Nonetheless, you’d like to see this lineup do a bit better against the likes of Collin McHugh, Ryan Yarbrough, Ryan Thomspon, Jeffrey Springs, and Louis Head. I guess to the Rays credit, it’s pretty difficult to get a good look against them on these opener/bullpen days:
This group shut down every single hitter not named Aaron Judge (3-for-4) and Gio Urshela (2-for-4). Tyler Wade also picked up an infield single, but foolishly was thrown out stealing with Giancarlo Stanton up against Head. Can’t take the bat out of the hands of the team’s hottest hitter.
Fortunately, the Yankees did break through in the seventh for the only run of the night. Aaron Hicks knocked in Judge with a sacrifice fly against Springs. It was pretty weird that Kevin Cash brought in the lefty Springs to face Hicks with one out, by the way. Hicks has been much better as a right handed hitter this season and got the job done.
Hopefully, Cole’s next start can be a 10-0 laugher instead of a scoreless game until the 7th. Good thing his next game won’t be against the Rays, because it seems like Tampa Bay consistently does a good job executing its gameplan against the Bombers. The Yanks have now won the first two of this series by a combined score of 4-1.
- Aroldis Chapman threw a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up the save. He struck out one batter, Mike Brosseau, and stared him down right after. I’m sure Chapman relished the chance to face him again after last postseason.
- Luke Voit is still hitless in two games, but he was robbed by third baseman Joey Wendle in the 7th. The first baseman hit a screaming 103.1 MPH one-hopper that Wendle picked. Tough luck.
- Aaron Boone didn’t have any update on Gleyber Torres’ status in the postgame show. In case you missed it, he didn’t play tonight in relation to the 7 COVID-19 positives in the team’s traveling party. There’s no indication that he’s tested positive, though.
Yankees go for the sweep tomorrow night. Same time, same place. Have a good night folks.