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Now this is more like it! Homers and dominant pitching against the Orioles is what we’re accustomed to. Today, Gerrit Cole went the distance and blanked Baltimore’s bats while the offense struck often and early. Let’s break it down before the second game of the twin bill.

We finally got the Gerrit Cole outing we’ve been waiting for. He put everything together in his complete game two-hit shutout this afternoon. The ace was on from the start and didn’t allow any hits through 4 2/3 innings. That’s when Hanser Alberto broke things up with a single to right, but it didn’t phase Cole.

Cole struck out 9 and walked just 1 in his 7 innings of work. Perhaps most notable of it all: he didn’t allow a home run. It’s the first time he’s done that this season. In fact, Cole didn’t allow much hard contact at all. The average exit velocity against him was 84.4 MPH.

Cole got a lot of mileage out of his curveball and slider today. He got 5 whiffs on 7 swings on the former and 10 on 20 swings on the latter. I wrote about Gerrit’s trouble with his secondaries ten days ago, particularly his ability to throw them in the zone. Perhaps that was part of his success today? Let’s see. First, his curve:

Hmm..not quite here. Not that these are all bad locations! But you could tell from watching that he was a little frustrated with his curve at times, especially the few that slipped and went high out of the zone. Now, let’s examine the slider:

Now that’s an improvement. He really seemed to have a good handle on it today and threw it where he wanted, whether in the zone or off the plate. Maybe he got a little too much plate with a few of those, but again: he got a ton of whiffs on the pitch and it wasn’t hit hard (79.9 MPH average exit velocity on 4 balls in play).

Numbers aside, Cole going the distance was huge. Obviously, this is the first game of today’s double header so he gave the bullpen a reprieve. Aaron Boone let Cole start the 7th inning despite having thrown 100 pitches through 6, though in fairness, Cole probably wouldn’t have let Boone pull him. That’s what you want out of the ace.

Home runs are good. I’ve been pining for the days of #TooManyHomers, and today, the Yankees gave me my wish. The lineup took Alex Cobb deep three times this afternoon. DJ LeMahieu led off with a dinger while Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka chipped in two-run homers each. On Gardy in particular, look at what this big dumb blog said about today’s lineup construction:

Here are all three homers:

Not much else to say other than that. Most good offenses thrive on home runs and the Yankees aren’t going to be the exception. Granted, guys like LeMahieu, Gardner, and Higashioka aren’t exactly known for their home run prowess. But when the big bats like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton return (apparently soon!), the Yankees will need the long ball from them. Remember when Judge was swatting dingers every day? Those were the good times. Those were the Bronx Bombers.

Leftovers

  • Mike Tauchman went 3-for-3, all singles. And hey, one of his hits came against a fastball! An 85 MPH from Tom Eshelman, that is. It was confounding to watch Alex Cobb keep throwing Tauchman splitters today, by the way.
  • Brett Gardner reached base all three times today, including the homer. However, he was caught stealing twice.
  • Gary Sánchez, the DH in this one, went 0-for-2 with a walk to bring his batting average down to .119. One of his two outs recorded was a bit of hard luck though: a 103 MPH line drive to first baseman Pat Valaika, which had a .700 xBA.
  • Here are the game two lineups:

Baltimore Orioles (20-23)

  1. Cedric Mullins, CF
  2. José Iglesias, SS
  3. DJ Stewart, RF
  4. Ryan Mountcastle, LF
  5. Rio Ruiz, 3B
  6. Renato Núñez, DH
  7. Hanser Alberto, 2B
  8. Chris Davis, 1B
  9. Chance Cisco, C

LHP Keegan Akin

New York Yankees (23-21)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
  2. Luke Voit, 1B
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Clint Frazier, RF
  5. Gleyber Torres, SS
  6. Miguel Andújar, DH
  7. Gary Sánchez, C
  8. Brett Gardner, LF
  9. Thairo Estrada, 2B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka