Yankees: Gerrit Cole’s Chapman stare sums up dominant 1-0 over Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 12: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 12, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 12: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 12, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees hoped to back Gerrit Cole with a few runs against the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen arms on Wednesday, but sometimes things don’t go the way you map them out.

Well, unless you’re Cole.

In that case, you read a series of scouting reports detailing the Rays’ weaknesses, realize they whiff constantly, then go to work.

In a performance that was nearly perfect and worth every penny of his contract, Cole toed the rubber with the chance to secure the Yankees’ first series win in Tampa since early 2019, and he didn’t leave that mound until he had a 1-0 lead to hand to Aroldis Chapman.

When he was done? Not by his choice, but by managerial decree?

He recorded one final strikeout, his 12th, and refused to leave his bump, stopping and staring at Brett Phillips after the whiff while borrowing a fiery move from the man who was about to relieve him.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole ended his dominant outing with an Aroldis Chapman gas face.

Every pitch, except the slider he hung to Randy Arozarena that came a few feet away from leaving the yard, was arguably perfect. Following a start against the Astros that was a bit uncharacteristic (only four strikeouts and a lead surrendered in part due to two Yordan Alvarez moonshots), we’re not sure Cole needed an exclamation point like this.

Once he saw how many zeroes his offense was putting on the board, though, and remembered how fickle the Trop can be when he watched a pop up hit a metal ring, he buckled down and didn’t relent one inch.

Cole claimed facing his old team, the Astros, was like an extended game of chess. This was more like Parcheesi. Too easy.

Cole’s 78 walks against three strikeouts this season rank as patently ridiculous, and he’s giving off steam at this point, barely able to breathe due to a lack of run support. If this is a video game, his numbers will have you scavenging for cheat codes.

His Chapman Gas Face will leave you wondering if the animation broke, too.

A redemptive Chapman outing followed Cole’s tribute, as the man who struggled to top 96 and control his secondary pitches Tuesday while dealing with a finger issue, reached back and recovered from a 3-1 count to Randy Arozarena before blowing 101 past his nemesis Mike Brosseau.

One run was enough on a humid evening under an opaque tarp in the worst ballpark in baseball. Thanks to the Yankees’ fire-breathers, though, they’ve written a happy ending to the first two games in the country’s worst destination, and have secured a series win.

Exhale, preferably while staring at your opponent.