Remember the overwhelming number of instances of IKF errors or mental mistakes in the field creating Cole gopher balls last season? Remember when a beach ball rolled around the outfield in Anaheim and ruined everything? Remember when the umpire being unable to figure out his own strike zone resulted in an immediate Alex Verdugo moonshot? It's happened time and again.
But maybe ... just maybe ... if you cross all your fingers ... you can see how having Anthony Volpe behind him at shortstop might make 2023 different.
With a runner at first and no outs in the sixth inning of Thursday's Opening Day game, Wilmer Flores and the Giants were threatening to ruin Cole's record-setting first outing, which featured a Yankees record for strikeouts in Game No. 1. On a 1-1 delivery, Cole perfectly dotted the corner with a 98 MPH fastball ... only Diaz apparently preferred Logan Webb's pitches that lingered off the outside corner. No dice. Wasn't watching. Blinked. Sorry.
In this instance, Cole had something in common with every Yankee fan watching from home, as he screamed, "JESUS, Laz!" loudly enough that the microphone picked it up.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole screams at umpire Laz Diaz on Opening Day
Spoiler Alert: In the seventh inning on a Wandy Peralta balk call, Jose Trevino could also be heard screaming, "You gotta be f***** kidding me," as he whipped off his mask.
Today was not Laz's best and brightest. Or maybe it actually was? Laz is bad.
At least there was a silver lining to Cole's outburst. On a 3-2 pitch (that should've been 2-3...), Flores chopped a grounder in the shortstop hole, where Volpe was there to backhand it and start a slightly-more-impressive-than-routine double play.
In a game without much offense, avoiding the Cole meltdown there was essential.
No thanks to Laz, who was a little bit more Judas than Jesus in this one. Yankees win, though, 5-0. Love the energy from Cole. Celebrate. See you on Saturday.