Gerrit Cole is the 2nd pitcher in the Modern era (since 1900) to allow at least 3 home runs in the 1st inning of a game multiple times in the same season (Cole also did this on June 9 at Twins).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 3, 2022
We won’t litigate Cole’s ace status for the umpteenth time here. We’ll also refrain from making another Billy Crystal joke. But we have to say, Mike Francesa’s unprompted podcast challenge the other day looks pretty good right now.
Cole’s last three outings: An 0-2 record with 15 runs (14 earned, or an ERA of 7.00) on 23 hits in 18 innings with 23 strikeouts and three walks. And the early barrage by the Mariners on Wednesday makes it all even more alarming.
It’s hard to imagine the Yankees can win the World Series without Cole finding some level of form that meshes with the $36 million annual average salary he receives. But they definitely have no chance if he’s going to get bombed in the first inning like that. It just takes all the wind out of the ballpark. Imagine if this was Game 1 of the ALDS. Or even worse, Game 5. It’s a knockout punch. This Yankees offense is good, but it’s hard for any lineup to recover from a six-run haymaker before it steps up to the plate.
It’s impossible to have any confidence in Cole whenever the next big start rolls around. Which will be next Tuesday in Seattle against Luis Castillo, who has now dominated the Yankees twice.
Also: What a great blast from the past name. We never give guys like Brett Tomko enough credit. Thirteen big league seasons, including the last one after a serious arm injury. Pitched for 10 teams, including the Dodgers and Yankees. Was in the farm system for two other clubs. Won 100 games. Got traded for Ken Griffey Jr. Had some time in the Atlantic League. Married a Playboy playmate. What a baseball life.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]