Calling all Red Sox fans!! You just HATE to see it, right? What a funny slogan, and even funnier that it’s at your expense right now.
New York Yankees fans were admittedly in shambles last October when Gerrit Cole flopped at Fenway Park in the AL Wild Card Game. That embarrassing loss to the Red Sox gave rival fans every bit of ammo to rip the Bombers and laugh at their $324 million ace.
Honestly, at the time, paying Chris Sale $150 million to do nothing really seemed like a better scenario.
And then things continued to spiral when the 2022 season arrived. Cole’s first three starts were disastrous, with the one in Detroit being the worst of his CAREER (1.2 innings, two earned runs, five walks). In came the original jokes. “Cole can’t pitch without sticky stuff!” “Who’s to blame now that Gary Sánchez is gone?!” Very creative/hilarious jabs from the coolest kids in school. Ya got us.
But then came his next five starts … and it seems everyone’s gotten quiet. Even though Cole’s been ripped here a fair amount, it’s impossible not to give credit where credit’s due at this point.
Cole is now firmly back in the AL Cy Young picture through eight outings thanks to a clear restoration of his abilities.
Gerrit Cole is pitching like an ace for the Yankees and the haters are crying
Down the stretch last year, many assumed Cole’s hamstring injury limited him and affected his performance. In 2022, it was likely because he wasn’t fully built up after an abbreviated offseason, coupled with the fact he was pitching in cold weather. Acceptable excuses for this year? Not really. We’d rather call them “factors” that contributed to his struggles.
You know what else helps? Run support! Cole is getting a ton more this year and it’s likely made it easie,r because he’s pitching with less and less pressure every five days. Sure, he has to dial it up and pitch in high stakes games — that’s where he earns his money — but the 2021 Yankees constantly put him in that position and made his job (and the rest of the rotation’s!) that much harder.
Even for as “bad” Cole was (for a pitcher of his caliber) after last year’s foreign substance ban, he still finished second in the AL Cy Young voting (and should’ve arguably won!) and has an xFIP a shade over 3.00, which leads the AL, over the last 11 months.
A guy making $36 million a year is always going to be in the crosshairs of his own fans (and more so his enemies), but Cole’s not too far off from proving his worth. All he needs to do is win a win-or-go-home playoff game and the entire narrative will switch.
When that happens? The haters will be dormant for quite a while.