2. “You Can’t Blame Gerrit Cole.”
I definitely can!
Just because I’m able to blame other people, too, does not absolve the Yankees’ $324 million ace when he collapses after being faced with the horrors of a slight delay of game.
On Wednesday night in Anaheim, Cole took a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning of a must-win game (scary thought) and retired the first batter after a fan fell on the field and wrecked the proceedings. Upset of the century. Unfortunately, Cole then surrendered a single (with an error attached), watched Isiah Kiner-Falefa make a terrible play behind him, and lost the zone to Shohei Ohtani/got burned on a 2-0, center-cut, 96 MPH fastball. Game over. And it’s not the first time.
Cole’s been, by and large, fantastic lately while the Yankees offense flails around him. But in nearly every important Cole start, there’s a moment where the playing field gets leveled and the rug gets yanked out from under him. Austin Meadows in Game 5 of the ALDS. Xander Bogaerts in the Wild Card Game, after the big, bad Fenway bullpen crowd heckled him. During this epic collapse, there’ve been several Cole starts that could’ve stemmed the tide, but didn’t. 3-0 lead blown in Baltimore a few weeks back. 1-0 lead blown to Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Blue Jays. Astros game lost on a JJ Matijevic homer. First-inning implosion against Seattle. All of these would be nice wins to have.
Cole is an ace. But until he secures a World Series for the Yankees, he’s going to get dogged as the pitcher who’s good enough to get you there, but not good enough to tune out the noise. And that’s a fair assessment, no matter what anyone wants to tell you. Isiah Kiner-Falefa blew Wednesday’s game with his defensive blunder. Cole did, too.