Gerrit Cole
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Gerrit Cole didn’t notice Aaron Judge’s absence until the second frame of the New York Yankees’ win over the Boston Red Sox Friday night.

The Cole Train just had a serious case of tunnel vision. Aaron Judge hit the IL with a calf strain before the New York Yankees‘ game on Friday; Gerrit Cole, that night’s starting pitcher, had no idea his right fielder was missing until the second inning.

“I think I asked Gary [Sanchez] in the second inning where Aaron was,” Cole told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “Some teammate I am, I guess, huh? Geez.”

Cole’s mistake is understandable, considering he was busy prepping ply his trade against the Boston Red Sox when the rest of the world learned of Judge’s misfortune. Plus, the 29-year-old ace said he made up for it later in the contest.

“I spoke to [Judge] briefly during the game and he seemed to be in good spirits,” the right-hander told Hoch. “It’s a little bit of a blow, but we have a good next man up mentality here.”

With Judge and fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the IL, Cole’s ability to shut down opponents is all the more valuable. He did just that on Friday, with a little help from the next men up he referenced.

Filling in for Judge and stanton, right fielder Mike Tauchman and DH Clint Frazier drove in a combined six runs. That was more than enough to back Cole, who held the Sox to one run on four hits in seven innings.

The Yankees’ marquee 2020 free-agency acquisition also fanned eight batters and improved to 4-0 on the season. The win was also his 20th consecutive victory since his last loss, all the way back on May 22, 2019.

Following the game, Aaron Boone gave Cole extremely high marks. “Best pitcher in the game and that’s what you’re seeing,” Boone told ESPN. “You’re seeing a guy that’s great at his craft with elite stuff and the ability to command it.”

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