It’s Year 3 of Gerrit Cole and we’ve written far too many of these. We don’t want to! Or, rather, I don’t want to. But to ignore this as a major New York Yankees storyline for quite some time now would be blogging malpractice.
Though the Yankees escaped Fenway Park with a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night, they had to dig, dig and dig because Cole couldn’t stop giving up home runs to bad hitters. Triston Casas (.375 slugging percentage) and Reese McGuire (.347 slugging percentage) went yard off the right-hander to break two ties. Then Xander Bogaerts curled around the Pesky Pole to break another tie.
In the end, it wasn’t a bad start for Cole, but it also wasn’t good! Can’t have three of the four hits you give up be home runs, and can’t give up four earned runs on the road against a division rival when the lineup isn’t fully healthy.
Sadly, though, this is all Cole does at Fenway Park, whether the Yankees are healthy or decimated. It doesn’t matter the scenario. As long as Cole is standing on the mound in Boston, it’s not good.
At this point, it honestly might be good managing by Aaron Boone to not start Cole against the Sox at Fenway. Every time you ask yourself, “How much worse can it get?” and it continues to get worse.
The Yankees simply cannot trust Gerrit Cole at Fenway Park … ever
Since the start of 2021 (he didn’t get any starts at Fenway during the shortened 2020 season), Cole is 2-3 with a ghastly 6.90 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. He’s allowed 12 home runs in those 30 innings (six starts, including the AL Wild Card Game).
There are factors that work against Cole, too. Fenway is the third-most hitter-friendly park in all of baseball (despite what bottom-of-the-barrel Red Sox fans say about Yankee Stadium’s short porch). Cole also has a tendency to surrender the long ball, which is a horrible match. The place literally shrinks whenever the Yankees visit, so there’s that, too.
Then there’s the mental aspect of Cole’s game, which many fans have questioned. It seems whenever there’s heightened tension or something minor (or major!) going off course, Cole melts down. Billy Crystal. Sox fans making fun of his voice before the Wild Card Game. Getting squeezed by the umps in Tampa. Walking the bottom of the Jays lineup and being unable to focus with a runner on base. Not being able to answer a question about Spider Tack without fumbling over every word/sentence.
It’s crazy to even imagine your $324 million ace being shielded from an opponent, let alone your chief division rival. But what’s the other course of action? Continue trotting him out there, watching him fail, and giving Sox fans more ammo to jeer at the Yankees?
It’s an impossible situation, and that’s exactly what Yankees fans are frustrated with. Why is this even a “thing”? Why is not starting Cole in Fenway a thought that even has to pop into our head? Shouldn’t it be easier than this?