Gerrit Cole seeks to wash out 2021 failure with Game 1 win for Yankees

Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium

Table of Contents

The New York Yankees Gerrit Cole still remembers October 5, 2021. It was the American League wild-card game at Boston’s Fenway Park. His task was to beat their hated rivals, the Red Sox in a do-or-die game.

However, The Yankees lost 6-2 and had to go home for the winter. Gerrit Cole had to pitch to 12 batters that day, but he only got six of them out. After only two innings, he had already given up four hits, two walks, and three earned runs.

Remembering that day Gerrit Cole, who is set to start the ALDS game against the Cleveland Guardians told USA TODAY Sports, “It took me a long time to get over that.” “I hate losing. I can’t take it anymore. I get frustrated. I get angry. I couldn’t help but think about it again and again. It made me feel awful.”

Now, a year later, Gerrit Cole will throw the ball again in the first playoff game for the Yankees. On Tuesday, at 7:37 p.m. ET on TBS, he will pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians at Yankee Stadium.

There was a good discussion about whether Gerrit Cole should start the first game, since Nestor Cortes had a better season, going 12-4 with an ERA of 2.44.

Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, thought about it, but Gerrit Cole is the best pitcher for the Yankees. He is their main worker. For games like this, the Yankees gave him $324 million.

Gerrit Cole has pitched in five games where the winner takes all. His team lost four of those games, but he is ready for this. Even though Game 1 is not a must-win, it is still important in this short best-of-five series.

Jameson Taillon, a starting pitcher for the Yankees who shared a room with Gerrit Cole in spring training, says, “He loves to compete; he is the only person who really has high hopes for himself; he handles it pretty well because he really does have high standards for himself.”

A rich career that inspires many

Gerrit Cole has been an All-Star five times and has finished in the top five for the Cy Young award five times. However, he is still looking for that one great game in October.

It’s also a month that puts a lot of pressure on people, raises expectations that may not be fair, and can leave permanent marks on a resume.

Mets fans are blaming Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, who was supposed to never lose a game, for their team’s elimination from the playoffs. The fans of the Toronto Blue Jays want to know what happened to their ace pitcher, Alek Manoah.

Even though these are the same guys who led their teams to the playoffs, it doesn’t matter. Only what happened in October will make people remember them.

“It makes me think a little bit of what happened with Bryce Harper,” Taillon says. “It seems like nothing Bryce Harper does is good enough because they are good players and have big contracts, people have high hopes for them.”

Alek Manoah Cole lost the 2015 National League wild-card game against the Chicago Cubs by a score of 4-0. Jake Arrieta, who won the Cy Young Award for the Cubs, pitched a five-hit shutout.

Gerrit Cole, who has made 14 postseason starts and is 8-5 with a 2.93 ERA, has blemishes from his losses in games where the winner takes all. He lost Game 5 of the 2013 National League Division Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals’ best pitcher, threw an eight-hit complete game to beat him.

Gerrit Cole beat Cleveland 12–3 to win the Yankees’ wild-card game in 2020, but then he lost to Tampa Bay 2-1 in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS. And there was last year’s game against the Red Sox, which made him 1-3 in games where the winner takes all.

Gerrit Cole says, “You feel good about yourself for getting to that point, and you think about that. You’re happy that you were able to get your team there.

“But then you feel bad that you didn’t take them any further.”

Gerrit Cole Cole has also done well in the postseason. In 86 innings, he has given up only 58 hits and struck out 111 batters. He has also won eight games.

Still, he hasn’t won the World Series game, which is the one he wants most. Cole says, “That’s the one you dream about.”

Standing tall despite the pressure of expectations

Gerrit Cole wouldn’t watch the World Series or any other postseason game when his team was knocked out for so many years. Too painful. Why put yourself through the pain of remembering it?

Nestor Cortes says, “I’m sure it would be hard on me to have the season on the line and not play the way I want to play.”

Gerrit Cole finally gave it a shot after the Red Sox beat them last year. He put the TV on. He wanted to watch his old teammates from the Astros play. He wanted to see his good friend Charlie Morton, a veteran starter for Atlanta, play. He wanted to know what it was like to just watch the game.

Cole said, “There have been years when I just couldn’t watch the postseason.” “But it was different last year. I watched the series for the championship. The World Series was on. There was something I liked about it.”

Now it’s back to the pressure cooker that is New York, where life is very different. When he pitched for Pittsburgh, a season in which they won turned out to be a very big achievement. It’s a big deal for Houston to win division titles and made it to the playoffs.

But in New York, if you don’t win the championship, it’s a huge failure.

“In New York, it’s very important to make the playoffs and win the World Series, ” Gerrit Cole says, “That’s fine with me. Now, I wouldn’t discount what I or anyone else has done during the regular season, but there are reasons why there are ALCS MVPs and World Series MVPs. Those awards are clearly meant to honor players who made a big difference and took over a series.”

“Those guys came through when it counted.

“I’d also like to be one of those guys.”

The task remains

Gerrit Cole was a big reason why the Yankees won their division this year. He went 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA and struck out 257 batters, which is a team record. He set the record on the same night that Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run, breaking the AL record. It looked like it would just be a small part of Yankee history until Yankee legend Ron Guidry called the clubhouse, put the phone on speaker, and congratulated Cole in person.

The Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said, “I might have seen a little bit of tears in his eyes.” “I could tell that he was about to get upset. I know how much it means to him to be on this team and play such an important role in it.”

Gerrit Cole knows that he couldn’t have set the record for strikeouts if he hadn’t been healthy, pitched a lot of innings, and started every fifth day.

He told Cortes, who is a full-time starter for the first time this season, how important it was to be tough. Cole told him that he needs to stay strong for 200 innings, fight through any fatigue, and make sure his body is ready to handle the stress of a long season without breaking down.

“Honestly, helping me get ready every five days has meant so much to me,” Cortes says. “I had a lot of questions when I made my first start in the big leagues. He told me how to take good care of my body.

“In my last start when I went eight innings. Yeah, you have to do that because when you’re in the playoffs, you need to have your workload already up. It’s important to get in a fatigue situation and pitch through that, because playoff time, you may be asked to pitch on three days’ rest or throw 100 pitches.’

Cole’s willingness to be a mentor has influenced everyone on the Yankees’ pitching staff, and when he’s not talking, he leads by example.

“Gerrit is very proud to be a horse and a guy who goes to the post every five days and logs innings,” says manager Aaron Boone. He has a lot of respect for this company and this franchise.

“This has been a really good season for Gerrit, but he’s had to deal with ups and downs. And he keeps grinding, showing up, working, and posting. He is responsible.”

Cole agrees that he has had better seasons than this one. Since 2017, this is his first full season with the highest ERA and the fewest wins (not counting the short 2020 season). In 200 2/3 innings, he gave up 33 home runs, which was the most of any pitcher in the AL.

But all of those problems will be forgotten if they have a great postseason, which starts Tuesday night against the team with the second-worst power hitting in baseball. The Guardians only hit 127 home runs the whole season.

Gerrit Cole will be asked to shut out the Guardians for seven innings, striking out 10 or more batters, and end the game with a lead that can’t be caught.

Unfair? Unrealistic? Unreasonable?

It’s just the way things are in New York.

“I think expectations are high because he’s really good,” Yankees’ third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “Gerrit, by far, is the biggest big-game pitcher I’ve ever been around. There always tends to be a lot more emphasis on games in October, and rightfully so. It can make or break you.”

So, is it fair that Cole’s teammates can go hitless and make mistakes on the field, but if Cole has a bad game, he’ll be blamed for the whole season?

“The pitchers will always get the most attention because they run the game,” says Donaldson. “They have possession of the ball. I know that when Gerrit gets on the mound, everyone has high hopes for him.”

“But he gets paid a lot because of that, right?”

Now, all he has to do is follow through.

Gerrit Cole says, “I really wish it was that easy. You know that the other side will bring it. You know it’s going to be crazy outside…

“But you know what? There’s also a sense of calm about it. This time of year is fun. I’ve learned that you have to accept it.

“And I’ll do it.”

Will Gerrit Cole get the redemption he seeks?

(Source credit: USA TODAY: Yankees’ Gerrit Cole heads into MLB postseason eager for redemption)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!