New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery get hit hard against the Tigers
By Scott Roche
Five days after looking impressive in their second outings of Spring Training, Yankees pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery didn’t fare as well in their third appearance of the spring.
After Cole tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his first start, the Yankees new ace followed that up with another solid outing against the Detroit Tigers. In 2.2 innings, he gave up two hits and struck out two. Facing the Tigers a second time in five days, they were ready for the $324 million ace.
Cole, who was sick earlier in the week and his routine was effected, allowed six earned runs on six hits and striking out three in two innings. He allowed back-to-back home runs in both innings to the same two Tigers’ batters. Detroit looked like they were ready for Cole’s fastball and sat on it. The good news for Cole and the Yankees is that it’s still Spring Training.
Nothing was working for Cole in Lakeland against the Tigers. He allowed a leadoff double to Victor Reyes before Travis Demeritte launched a 1-2 changeup over the left-field fence. On the next pitch, Miguel Cabrera took a 96 mph heater and deposited it over the fence in left-center.
In the second, Demeritte and Cabrera got to Cole again for two more long balls. Demeritte, fighting for a spot on the Tigers 26-man roster, took a 99 mph heater and crushed it to straightaway center. Cabrera for the second straight at-bat took Cole’s first pitch, a 98 mph heater, and hit it over Mike Tauchman and the fence in center field.
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Things started out better for the left-handed Montgomery as he struck out Demeritte and Cabrera in the fourth inning. Then things unraveled in the fifth. Jeimer Candelario took Montgomery deep first in the fifth inning with a solo home run. In the sixth, Monty allowed a leadoff dinger to Jake Rogers and a solo shot to Jose Azocar. Brady Policelli smashed the third homer of the inning, a two-run shot.
In three innings, Montgomery gave up six hits and five earned runs. He did strike out four but also allowed the four home runs.
It’s still Spring Training and both pitchers have the chance to go back to the drawing board and fix things. We are still three weeks away from Opening Day in Baltimore. Stinkers are going to happen during the course of a season. No need to panic. Let’s see what the fourth outings look like for both Cole and Montgomery.
If manager Aaron Boone sticks to his current plan of having Cole pitch every fifth day and increasing his workload, his next possible start will be Tuesday at Steinbrenner Field against the Toronto Blue Jays. You could say that being ill earlier in the week contributed to his rough outing against the Tigers. For Cole the next time he takes the mound can’t get here quick enough.