Boone selects Gerrit Cole as starting pitcher for playoff opener despite concerns

Gerrit Cole
Inna Zeyger
Wednesday September 21, 2022

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Gerrit Cole is the best pitcher in the Yankees’ lineup and manager Aaron Boone has picked him as starting pitcher for New York’s first playoff.

During an appearance on the podcast The Show with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman, Yankees manager Aaron Boone put an end to the rumors by announcing that the right-handed pitcher will start Game 1.

When asked about selecting the starting pitcher for the first game among Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, and Lusi Severino, he revealed that Cole is the first choice.

According to him:

“Yeah, Cole would be. And we feel great about Nestor obviously too. And hopefully [Luis Severino] getting back here and getting a few starts under his belt here at the back end, put him in that mix too. We’ve got a couple weeks to go there and we’ve got to see how we get there and how we get in. Those things always affect how you line things up. But hopefully we’re in a position to line it up how we want.”

However, Gerrit Cole has had an inconsistent season this year despite having the biggest contract. This has led many to doubt if he would get a chance to start on the mound in the team’s Game 1 playoff.

The veteran pitcher will face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. In 30 starts, he has a 12-7 record, a 3.

41 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and 236 strikeouts in 182.1 innings. The five-time All-Star has pretty good numbers there.

But the 32-year-old has been having problems lately. Gerrit Cole has given up eight home runs in his last five starts, which started with a win over the Oakland Athletics on August 26. Five of those home runs have come in his last two starts alone.

The pitcher has given up 29 home runs this season, giving him an HR/9 rate of 1.43. The 29 homers are tied for second-most in his career, and his HR/9 rate is tied for second-worst.

It’s not where the Yankees want Gerrit Cole to be going into October. Boone has already told reporters that his best pitcher is “frustrated” that almost every mistake he’s made has led to a home run.

When questioned over so many home runs against him this season, Cole responded:

“I’m processing it, and to be honest, I don’t really have a good answer for you. In some cases, it’s kind of remarkable. But I need to be better.

Gerrit Cole has been New York’s best pitcher since he signed a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract before the 2020 season. He has also started every Game 1 for the Pinstripes since then.

In 2020, he started against the Cleveland Guardians in the first game of the American League Wild Card Series. In a 12-3 win, he gave up six hits, two runs, and 105 pitches, striking out 13 batters.

In Game 1 of the American League Division Series that year, he pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays and gave up six hits, three runs, and eight strikeouts over six innings. That game was won by the Yankees, 9-3.

Cole’s only Game 1 loss was against the Boston Red Sox in the 2021 American League Wild Card Series. In two innings, he threw 50 pitches and gave up three runs and four hits, which led to a 6-2 loss.

It’s not surprising that Boone is confident in Gerrit Cole as his Game 1 starter, given his track record in the postseason.

Do you think Gerrit Cole is the right choice? Who else do you favor?

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