You’re not going to believe this, but the Yankees had a chance to sweep the Rays on Thursday, but instead clattered to the artificial turf in a dispiriting loss and got laughed out of the building.
Oh no! Mom, it happened again!
This game got off to an inauspicious start, as ace Gerrit Cole toed the rubber against scuffling top prospect Luis Patiño and he…surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, Brandon Lowe. Oh no again!
But wait. That homer was overturned by the umpiring crew, even though it was quite difficult to tell whether it ended up fair or foul. Cole got a huge break by any metric, took a deep breath, shrugged it off…and allowed four earned runs after four batters faced, capped by a three-run shot by Austin Meadows.
Though Cole has rebounded since MLB officially banned Spider Tack and other sticky substances about two months ago, reeling off some strong outings in Houston and against Boston, there have been plenty of struggles, too. Until Cole proves he can remain an ace, he’s still going to get laughed at every time he has trouble containing a lineup or doesn’t look like his old self.
With that in mind…the Rays got off a fire tweet following the last pitch of this one.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole got trolled by the Rays over sticky stuff.
Had to rub the salt from the rim of your margarita in the wound there, eh, Florida? We see how it is.
Cole is going to have to keep making adjustments as the season goes on. He’s a great pitcher, but he is at a disadvantage compared to the ease of his life back in May…and 2019…and probably 2018. It’s obvious.
Rival fans are salivating every time the highly-paid ace takes the mound, and they’re going to ignore his 129-pitch complete-game shutout in Houston in favor of laughing at starts like this. Yankee fans are going to have to handle this nonsense, especially since the Rays successfully got the last laugh again.
Cole took the onus in the postgame, placing the burden of the loss on his shoulders.
As great as he’s been at times in 2021, this is another loss with a chance to sweep that hangs on his mantle. He came up small trying to avoid a sweep at Fenway last month. Ditto Game 2 of this weekend’s road series in Boston, too.
The examples of Cole struggling under the brightest lights — without his security blanket — are beginning to mount. And giddy rivals are going to continue to spotlight those failures instead of the successes he’s mixed in.
Is what it is.