Yankees ace Gerrit Cole hit another low point in his less-than-stellar season on Tuesday night, as he was pulled in the 2nd inning amid another ugly performance against the Tigers.
“This game was obviously disappointing,” the righty said.
Cole took the mound for his 3rd start of the season in Detroit, but lasted less than 2 innings after walking 5 batters and giving up 2 runs before manager Aaron Boone yanked him from the game before he recorded 6 outs.
The team managed to win the game nonetheless, as the next 5 Yankee pitchers kept the Tigers scoreless, and the offense recorded 4 runs to win by a 2–4 margin.
Still, the performance from Cole is deeply troubling for the Bronx Bombers, as they came into the year hoping to rely on the 31-year-old to be their go-to pitcher going forward.
The righty signed a 9 year contract worth $324 million in 2019, which, at the time, made him the highest-paid pitcher in the MLB (a record that has since been broken by Mets righty Max Scherzer).
With a 6.35 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched this year, alarm bells have begun ringing in the Bronx — as Cole himself acknowledged his recent struggles amid intensifying criticism.
“I’ve certainly never had anything like that in my career before,” he said after the game on Tuesday.
“I still made good pitches,” he added. “But, when I needed to make one, I just didn’t make it…When push came to shove, I just couldn’t make the pitch.”
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The former Pittsburgh Pirate and Houston Astro said he has been “trying to be too perfect” on the mound.
When asked what was going through his mind as Boone exited the dugout to pull him out of the game, Cole put his feelings bluntly.
“A bunch of 4 letter words.”
For Boone’s part, the manager said his star pitcher simply “lost the strike zone,” and noted the 68 pitches that Cole had thrown in the troubling start.
“I probably shouldn’t have left him in there as long as I did, just the weather and the number of pitches he was racking up,” said Boone.
Cole’s 5 walks in the game tied his career high, despite playing less than 2 innings.
Still, the manager said he wasn’t overly worried about Cole going forward.
“I’m really not. I think he’s poised for a big year going forward for us. I know he’s going to carry us,” he said. “Things haven’t gone his way so far, but he’s close. He’s just got to find his rhythm.”
Cole’s first star of the year against the Boston Red Sox saw him throw 4 innings, while recording 3 runs. His second start against the Blue Jays was similarly rough, as he threw 5.2 innings, and again earned 3 runs.
In his 11.1 innings this year, he’s thrown 12 strikeouts, while giving up 9 hits, 7 walks and 8 runs.