NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees reacts in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 31, 2020 in New York City.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Some New York Yankees fans have decided that Gerrit Cole must stink since he hasn’t thrown eight no-hitters in eight starts. That is wrong.

James Kelly

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole hasn’t been as dominant as expected to start the 2020 season. And some Yankee fans are proving why it can be so difficult to be a fan of the team sometimes. Sure, I’ll support the Bronx Bombers on the field no matter what. But the things my eyes are constantly subjected to on the black hole of intelligent thought that is is enough to drive any man insane.

So once again, I’ll be utilizing this forum to air my grievances with those on Yankees Twitter who vote against using comprehensive logic and instead type the first absurdity that pops into their minds. Hopefully, you don’t see your Twitter handle under this headline.

If you do, please seriously reconsider the amount of thought you put behind your tweets. My brain can’t take your overreactions anymore.

The “Gerrit Cole just stinks” crew

I’ll start first and foremost with the absolute bottom of the barrel. Fans who have watched Gerrit Cole throw eight starts for the Yankees and think they can judge his talent level. People who after eight starts can tell you with absolute certainty that the New York Yankees just blew $324 million on a complete bum.

Well newsflash, you have absolutely zero idea what you’re talking about. Sure, even I will admit that Cole hasn’t pitched up to the ridiculous standard he set for himself in 2019. But to say that a slow start is any kind of proof that he’s a bad pitcher is the laziest form of a stupid take.

Gerrit Cole is a great pitcher. There’s a ton of possible reasons for his slow start, first and foremost being that 2020 is the weirdest season of Yankees baseball ever played. Players didn’t prepare the way they usually do. Cole is working with a new pitching coach and a new catcher in a new stadium. A slow start this season holds absolutely no water in projecting the future of his Yankees career.

And for what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time a Yankees ace has had a slow start.

Nor is it the first time Gerrit Cole has had a slow start.

So stop acting like eight starts is any indication of Gerrit Cole’s talent level. You know absolutely nothing.

The “It’s all Gary’s fault!” brigade

Many Yankees fans will look for any opportunity to blame Gary Sanchez for everything. It has never made sense to me. They’ll blindly yell “Sanchez calls a bad game” despite every pitcher saying the exact opposite.

Gerrit Cole loves throwing to Gary Sanchez. He’s done absolutely nothing but praise him since the first day of spring training. And Cole isn’t the only pitcher who has come to Sanchez’s defense. CC Sabathia on numerous occasions praised Sanchez’s pitch calling.

But no, god forbid anybody give Sanchez even the slightest bit of credit. It’s too easy to just call “passed ball” as if that has anything to do with his pitch calling.

So we’ll just completely ignore the fact that Cole, one of the most meticulous pitchers in the game, and Sanchez have been on the same pitch with nearly every pitch call all season. And completely ignore the fact that after every game, Cole refers to “his” performance as “our” performance to credit his battery mate. We’ll also ignore the fact that Cole is getting beat with the long ball on pitches where he misses his spot.

Because blaming Gary Sanchez for everything is just too easy.

The “It’s because he’s not in Houston anymore” theorists

Now for the next laziest take on Gerrit Cole’s early struggles. Some Yankees fans have decided that because he’s not in Houston anymore he won’t be as good. Since obviously he must have been cheating in Houston so now the Yankees will get the Pittsburgh Pirates iteration of Gerrit Cole.

As much as it pains me to say this, the Houston Astros are one of the most analytically advanced organizations in Major League Baseball. They figured out that Cole was misusing his incredible stuff, and then taught him how to fix it. Instead of throwing sinkers down, they taught him that he’d be more effective throwing four-seamers up.

Cole did not just “unlearn” those lessons when he arrived at Yankees camp. He knows how to be the most effective pitcher he can be. His problem this year has been missing his spots, not going back to his old strategy. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the Yankees spent $324 million on “pretty good Gerrit from Pittsburgh.” They spent that money on elite Cole from Houston and it will pay off for them.

As for cheating allegations, Houston’s sign-stealing scandal only directly benefitted the hitters. Cole cheated no more than any other pitcher in Major League Baseball. There’s quite literally no possible way to cheat as a pitcher outside of using a foreign substance on the ball. And as any player can tell you, every pitcher in the league keeps pine tar on hand to get a better grip on the ball.

Again, Cole’s troubles are coming from pitch location, not stuff. He can still run the fastball into the high 90s and his breaking balls are still sharp. He’s just not locating them as well as he did for Houston in 2019. There’s no reason to believe he won’t correct that issue and start effortlessly dominating hitters again.

So, to sum it up, Gerrit Cole is an excellent pitcher and that will show in time. Stop freaking out because of eight starts in the weirdest season of all time. As long as he rounds into form by October, nobody will even remember the start to this season.

Lifetime ballplayer and Yankee fan. Strongly believe that the eye-test and advanced stats can be used together instead of against each other.