If you want to know what finishing with a flourish looks like, then you need to peek at what Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole just did. And I’m not only talking about Wednesday’s complete game shutout against the Blue Jays. His second-to-last start of 2023 was also terrific.
Over his final 15 innings of work, Cole allowed one run on four hits, no walks, and 14 strikeouts.
Gerrit Cole's 2023 season is complete:
– 33 starts
– 209 innings
– 15-4 record
– 2.63 ERA
– 0.98 WHIP
– 222 strikeouts
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) September 28, 2023
It appears as though the Cy Young Award that’s eluded him will finally be his this November. That alone will make 2023 one for him to remember despite the team not living up to expectations. But if we look at some of the numbers, Cole pitched well enough to make this campaign even more special.
Unfortunately, other areas of the Yankees’ roster couldn’t back him up enough to help him reach the 20-win plateau for the second time.
A Reddit user pointed out that New York lost 10 of the 33 games started by Cole this year. In each of those, the Yankees either lost by one run or failed to score more than once. Some quick math tells us Cole could’ve gotten 20-plus wins this year if even half of those occasions went in his favor.
But maybe he didn’t pitch well enough in those games? I went to his game log so we have all the evidence side by side:
May 7th vs. Rays
Cole allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits, two walks, and six strikeouts in five innings. New York lost 8-7.
May 17th vs. Blue Jays
The right-hander held Toronto scoreless over six innings, allowing seven runs and two walks with six strikeouts. However, the Yankees lost 3-0.
June 9th vs. Red Sox
This was the first decision Cole lost in 2023. He allowed two runs on seven hits, one walk, and six strikeouts in six innings against Boston. The Red Sox won, 3-2.
June 14th vs. Mets
Cole limited the Mets to one run on four hits while piling up eight strikeouts in six innings. The Amazins still ended up pulling out a 4-3 win.
July 2nd vs. Cardinals
In a 5-1 loss to St. Louis, Cole allowed just two runs on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts in six innings.
July 16th vs. Rockies
Despite taking the mound at Coors Field, Cole was dominant vs. Colorado. He allowed one run on two hits, one walk, and 11 strikeouts in six innings. The Yankees eventually lost, 8-7.
July 28th vs. Orioles
New York’s ace was in top form vs. Baltimore, shutting them out and allowing just three hits over seven innings while striking out five. The Yankees couldn’t muster a run and lost 1-0.
August 7th vs. White Sox
New York dropped this game to Chicago by a score of 5-1. Cole got his third loss of the year after allowing four runs on five hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in seven innings.
August 13th vs. Marlins
Despite allowing just two runs on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts in six innings, Cole got the no-decision as the Yankees lost to Miami, 8-7.
August 19th vs. Red Sox
In what ended up being his fourth and final loss of the year, the Red Sox tagged Cole for six runs on seven hits, one walk, and four strikeouts in four innings.
Whether it was the offense not showing up or the bullpen giving the game away, Cole was robbed of another 20-win season. In these 10 Yankee losses, the hurler failed to pitch at least six innings just twice. He also registered six quality starts, and he didn’t allow more than two earned runs in any of those appearances.
This is still a terrific season for Cole that deserves to be celebrated. He probably won’t be thinking about what could’ve been because winning 15 games is still awesome. But, man — he definitely pitched well enough to win 20 again.