mike francesa
Peter Ackermann | Asbury Park Press

Mike Francesa was taken by Max Scherzer’s Subway Series start on Wednesday. And he wants to see Gerrit Cole deliver something similar.

The WFAN legend praised Scherzer’s impact on the Mets during his latest BetRivers podcast. He also issued a challenge to the Yankees’ Cole in the same breath.

“You saw Scherzer’s worth, which is his weight in gold,” Francesa said. “He’s everything you want in a big game pitcher. He’s everything you want in an ace. He’s everything you want in a pitching leader. He’s the whole deal. He leads. He leads verbally, he leads by example and he steps up in the big spot. That’s an ace.

“Cole has never proven he can be what Scherzer already is. I need to see that out of Cole.”

Cole is having a solid season. He’s 9-3 with a 3.09 ERA and he was an All-Star. But he was brought to town to deliver in October and lead the Yankees to championships. He has failed so far. He took a no-decision in Game 5 of the 2020 ALDS against the Rays, failing to get out of the sixth inning. And he was shellacked by the Red Sox last year in the AL wild card game. He’s also been up and down in big regular season games — his Opening Day meltdown against Boston comes to mind.

That said, Cole has gone at least six innings in eight starts dating back to a rough outing against the Twins in early June. He’s been good against the Red Sox. And he was good against the Astros. His team just didn’t get a single hit behind him.

Francesa is right though. Cole comes nowhere close to inspiring the level of confidence the Mets carry when Scherzer is on the mound. Scherzer is on another level. And the Yankees need Cole to get there if they want to win a World Series.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.