Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole made his final case for the AL Cy Young Award in style on Wednesday night in Toronto.

The Yankees’ ace carved up the Blue Jays weeks before Canadian Thanksgiving and pitched an absolute gem. Cole shut down Toronto’s bats in a two-hit, 6-0 shutout. He struck out five with no walks.

Oh, and just as a side note, Aaron Judge hit two home runs to put his season total at 37. In just 103 games.

But make no mistake, the night belonged to Gerrit Cole. He’s already the odds-on favorite to win the AL Cy Young. In his final start of the season, he sealed his case.

And what a stress-free start it was for Cole, too. Brandon Belt’s second inning double was wasted and Toronto simply had no answers in a must-win game. Belt later added a two-out single, but to no avail. Toronto still clings to the second AL Wild Card spot with the Astros and Mariners only a combined half-game behind.

Going back to Gerrit Cole, there is no reason he shouldn’t win the AL Cy Young in 2023. He finished a strong 15-4 despite his Yankees underachieving all year and missing the playoffs. His 2.63 ERA leads the league along with his clean 209 innings, and his 227 strikeouts rank third.

We’ve discussed this before but we’ll say it again. The 2023 American League Cy Young Award should be Gerrit Cole’s to lose. There’s nobody close to his level, not even Blue Jays righty Kevin Gausman and his league-leading 237 strikeouts.

Who else is there? Former Yankee and current Minnesota Twin Sonny Gray? He plays in the worst division in baseball, and the Mariners’ trio of Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby haven’t distinguished themselves from Cole.

Every one of those names is a great pitcher who had a great year, but even so. Gerrit Cole was the Yankees’ sole consistent beacon in an absolute disappointment of a season. At the very least, he deserves to take home the Cy Young.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.