Rick Osentoski | USA TODAY Sports

Three hours and 59 minutes later, the Yankees won 4-2 and overcame another bad Gerrit Cole outing.

Tuesday’s series opener against the Tigers was supposed to be different. A Detroit team batting just .201 as a unit? Cole would mow them down and the Yankees bats would have a ball at Comerica Park.

Instead, the $324 million ace struggled with the wind and couldn’t even finish two innings. Cole threw 68 pitches and couldn’t even get six outs, giving up a pair of runs on five walks and a hit. The wind chill was in the 30s, yet he only had three strikeouts.

Oh, and more complaints: Cameras caught Cole gesturing that he was struggling to grip the ball during a mound visit.

Very cute. It’s not like the bullpen only allowed three hits and three walks for the rest of the game. How about Clarke Schmidt coming out with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and striking out six with just one free pass? All you have to do is get the ball over the plate with this Tigers team. They can’t hit out of a wet paper bag. Yet even that was beyond Cole’s capabilities.

The last time Cole had more walks than strikeouts, it was 2016 and he was a Pirate. He has a 6.35 ERA on the season and has looked like anything but an ace through three starts.

It’s been Billy Crystal’s fault. Then the Star Wars two-strike siren was an issue. We’ll give him Vladimir Guerrero Jr. But still.

Cole is still the ace, and it’s still too early to completely panic. But the Yankees aren’t paying him $36 million a year to average under four innings a start. The bullpen is supposed to more or less have the night off when it’s his turn. Instead they keep carrying the load.

Get it together.

Josh Benjamin is a Bronx native who lives and breathes the New York Yankees despite being born into a family full of Mets fans. He is the MLB Editor at RealSport and considers himself a student of the game. When not writing, he can be found either at Yankee Stadium or deep in discussion with his fellow sports nuts.