Yankees’ Gerrit Cole battles Toronto ace, ex-Yankee pitcher in Cy Young final

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is pitching at Yankee Stadium.
Michael Bennington
Tuesday November 7, 2023

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Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole received the distinction of being named a finalist for the 2023 American League Cy Young Award on Monday. This marks the third occasion in his career that the ace finds himself in the top three contenders for the title of one of the AL’s finest pitchers.

In 2019, while he was with the Astros, Gerrit Cole secured the second spot, trailing behind teammate Justin Verlander for the award. Two years later, as a member of the Yankees, he was ranked second by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray securing the top spot.

The winner of this year’s award will be unveiled on MLB Network on November 15 at 6 p.m. ET. The remaining finalists include the Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman and the Twins’ Sonny Gray.

A franchise record awaiting Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole aspires to become the first Yankee to secure the award since Roger Clemens in 2001. Despite the Yankees’ underwhelming performance in 2023, his season stands out. He not only led the team with a 7.5 bWAR but also topped the AL in eight pitching categories, including ERA (2.63), innings pitched (209), and WHIP (0.98).

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Gerrit Cole thrust himself into the forefront of the Cy Young conversation with an impressive seven-start stretch to conclude the season, boasting a remarkable 5-0 record with a 1.29 ERA (merely seven earned runs across 48 2/3 innings) and accumulating 52 strikeouts. Overall, the Yankees secured 23 wins out of his 33 starts.

Following Gerrit Cole’s recent performance, teammate Aaron Judge commented, referring to him as the best pitcher in the game. He also noted that this is indeed Gerrit Cole’s era and emphasized that the pitcher serves as the benchmark for what an ace should be like, both on and off the field.

An outstanding season for the Yankees ace

Gerrit Cole, who achieved a 15-4 record, delivered more than just an exceptional performance in his last seven starts. His 2.63 ERA stands as the lowest among qualified Yankees pitchers since Rudy May posted a 2.46 ERA in 41 games (including 17 starts) back in 1980. Notably, it ranks as the fourth-lowest ERA among qualified Yankees over the past 49 years, trailing behind only Ron Guidry (1.74 ERA in 1978), May, and Catfish Hunter (2.58 ERA in 1975).

Yankees' Gerrit Cole celebrates after achieving his 200th strikeout of 2023 vs. the Brewers on Sept 10 at Yankee Stadium.

Throughout the season, Gerrit Cole allowed more than three runs on just five occasions in his 33 starts, with 27 of his 64 runs coming in those five starts. In his other 28 starts, he impressively relinquished just 37 runs, averaging a mere 1.32 runs per game.

As he wrapped up his season with a remarkable two-hit shutout of the Blue Jays on September 27, Gerrit Cole expressed his gratitude for the unwavering effort displayed by his team every time he took the mound.

Gerrit Cole expressed his gratitude for his teammates and their efforts during the 33 games he played this year. He acknowledged that their dedication and hard work motivated them even when collective hopes were dashed, and he highlighted their commitment to playing hard throughout the season.

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