gerrit cole yankees
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The Yankees are preparing for Game 2 of their ALDS matchup against the Cleveland Guardians with a 1-0 series lead. Gerrit Cole pitching like an ace for the Bronx Bombers was one of the big reasons why they’re in this situation.

It was a little touch-and-go at the start, including an early home run from Steven Kwan to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. But the right-hander buckled down and got himself under control to finish his outing by allowing just that one run on four hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts.

This is only his third trip into the postseason as a member of the Yankees, but he’s already etching his name next to other top-tier Bronx playoff performers. For instance, this is already the fourth time he’s registered at least eight strikeouts in an October start. That’s tied for the most in franchise history:

As we can clearly see with the follow-up tweet, Cole has accomplished this in just five starts. Meanwhile, David Cone, Mike Mussina, and Roger Clemens all needed at least 12 starts to join this list. The one Cole start that didn’t produce at least eight strikeouts? That’d be his AL Wild Card Game appearance in 2021 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park that everyone is still talking about.

Let’s go through a quick rundown of the other four starts that landed him on this list in the first place:

  • 2020 ALWC Game 1: 2 runs, 6 hits, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts in 7 innings
  • 2020 ALDS Game 1: 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts in 6 innings
  • 2020 ALDS Game 5: 1 run, 1 hit, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts in 5.1 innings
  • 2022 ALDS Game 1: 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts in 6.1 innings

So, it turns out he’s performed exactly how the Yankees would hope, outside of that one tough postseason outing last season. A somewhat sluggish end to the regular season at least opened the door for a possible Game 1 start from Nestor Cortes, but New York went with the expected decision of running Cole out there.

And after a dominant Game 1 performance from their staff ace, the Yankees now have Nasty Nestor ready to take the mound as they attempt to take a 2-0 series lead.

Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.