The New York Yankees have made a habit of losing Gerrit Cole starts this season, but he didn’t given his team much of a chance to win Sunday’s series finale at Fenway Park.
Cole entered the game 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three career starts at Fenway, which is the only stadium where he’s made at least three regular season starts and never recorded a win.
Unfortunately for Cole, his numbers in Boston worsened on Sunday. The perennial Cy Young candidate looked off from the first pitch, which leadoff hitter Kike Hernandez blasted over the Green Monster to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.
To make matters worse? The fan who caught the home run was decked out in Yankees apparel…and celebrated as if Aaron Judge opened the scoring.
That’s never a good sign and that proved true a couple batters later when Rafael Devers obliterated a fastball into the right field bleachers to bury the Yankees into a 4-0 hole.
Gerrit Cole got shelled and the Yankees were swept by the Red Sox on Sunday.
Throw the ball back. Give it to a young Red Sox fan. Anything but celebrate.
Anyway, want to hear some stats that confirm this is the season from hell? This game marked the first time in Cole’s career that he allowed a home run on the first pitch of the game. It was also the first time the three-time All-Star has allowed two first inning home runs in his career.
Since there’s literally a stat for everything when it comes to the Yanks and their shortcomings, Devers’ three-run blast came on a 100.1 mph fastball. It was the fastest pitch Cole has EVER allowed a home run on. You simply can’t make it up.
Cole spent a lot of time crouching behind the mound after Devers’ home run. At that moment, you kind of got the sense that this ball game was over, as the $324 million hurler never, even during lackluster outings, looks as defeated as he did in the top of the first.
To rub salt in the wound, Cole, in his worst-ever start for the Yankees, was checked for foreign substances twice…including after his disaster first inning.
For as much as New York needed Cole to deliver a vintage performance on Sunday, he’s largely been excellent this season, and the entire club disappointed in a must-win game. However, at least they didn’t deliver this sorry postgame quote like their manager.
From looking sloppy in the field and the offense allowing Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the game sporting a 6.07 ERA (!) to deliver a quality start, this performance was a microcosm of the Yankees’ season through the first three months.
If you expected New York to show signs of life — even after they went 7-2 against Toronto, Oakland and Kansas City — with a chance to close the gap in the AL East vs the Red Sox, you simply haven’t been watching.
The season’s far from over, but being 6.5 games back in the division approaching July means things are lining up for the Yankees to play either one of the Rays or Red Sox in the Wild Card Game, and this roster wasn’t built to win those kind of contests.
If there was ever a time to make a change — not that we’re expecting anything of significance to happen — getting swept in Boston with a prime chance to turn your season around certainly ranks near the top of the list.