Last Updated on September 22, 2023 at 6:40 am by Amanda Cunha
In the heart of New York, under the bright stadium lights on Thursday, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole showcased the mastery of his craft, leaving little room for doubt that he’s on the verge of clinching his maiden Cy Young Award.
As the curtains fell on Gerrit Cole’s final start at Yankee Stadium for the year, his performance left no doubt about his claim to the Cy Young throne. Over eight dazzling innings, he struck out nine, issued no walks, and conceded just two hits, guiding the Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
The 37,646 fans in attendance rose to their feet, showering Gerrit Cole with a standing ovation as he strolled back to the dugout after his 107th pitch. His appreciation for the moment was evident.
“That was special for me,” Gerrit Cole admitted, his voice filled with emotion. “I love pitching at home in front of our fans. We have a lot of fans on the road, too, but there’s just something about having good nights in the Bronx. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Indeed, Gerrit Cole’s 2023 campaign has been nothing short of sensational. Leading the American League in key statistical categories, such as ERA (2.75), innings pitched (200), starts (32), and WHIP (1.02), he stands as the frontrunner for the Cy Young Award, fending off challenges from worthy contenders like Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.
Manager Aaron Boone couldn’t contain his pride in Gerrit Cole’s achievements.
“It hit me when he was walking off in the eighth and I knew he was done. It being his last home regular-season game, it popped into my mind, for sure. I wanted to get my hands on him and let him know just how proud I was of him,” Boone effused.
Gerrit Cole’s magical influence on the Yankees
The Yankees have basked in the glory of Gerrit Cole’s performances, winning each of his last six starts, a streak that began on August 25. During this remarkable run, their ace has compiled a 4-0 record with an astonishing 1.59 ERA. In contrast, the team’s record in games started by others has been a less impressive 55-66.
Teammate Jake Bauers marveled at Gerrit Cole’s consistency, saying, “He’s almost so good that you can take it for granted. It’s pretty impressive the way he goes out there every five days and immediately gives you a chance to win the game. There’s not many guys like that in this league.”
For Gerrit Cole, who grew up as a devoted Yankees fan in Orange County, California, pitching in pinstripes has fulfilled a lifelong dream. Reflecting on his journey, Cole shared, “My dad would yell at me about wasting ink, but I stapled them up on my wall. It’s a dream come true.”
On this special night, Gerrit Cole was in complete control, retiring the first 16 Toronto batters he faced. His bid for a perfect game was broken up by Alejandro Kirk’s double in the sixth inning. Boone noted that Cole’s precision was evident from the first pitch, a cutter that caught the outside corner for a called strike. “He was just dialed in,” Boone remarked. “He was putting it where and how he wanted to, all night. He was just where he wanted to be, over and over again.”
Catcher Ben Rortvedt added, “He’s just extremely in tune with how he is that day, what’s working and what’s not working, and being able to use what he has that day to his advantage. If something’s not on, he’ll find a way around it.”
The Yankees’ offense played its part as well, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Estevan Florial contributing back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning, and Aaron Judge chipping in with a late RBI double to snap a three-game losing streak.
As the 2023 season winds down, Gerrit Cole stands as the heavy favorite to secure his long-awaited American League Cy Young Award. With odds heavily in his favor at -2200, Cole’s stellar performance throughout the year has left little doubt about his candidacy. After narrowly missing out on the award in 2019 and 2021, Gerrit Cole’s standout season in 2023, leading the league in ERA (2.81), innings (192), and excelling in various advanced metrics, makes him the frontrunner.
The Cy Young frontrunner
His journey to Cy Young contention wasn’t without its twists and turns. At one point, he trailed in the odds, but a strong September performance, including a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings, solidified his position atop the leaderboard. The only other pitchers with better odds than Gerrit Cole in the American League are Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.
A Cy Young Award would be the crowning achievement in a career that already boasts six All-Star selections and two strikeout titles. Gerrit Cole has firmly established himself as one of the game’s elite, and this accolade would further solidify his place in baseball history.
As the echoes of Gerrit Cole’s triumphant final home start reverberated through the hallowed Yankee Stadium, fans clad in pinstripes couldn’t help but engage in spirited discussions about the pitcher’s remarkable season. From the crowded bleachers to the bustling concourses, conversations among the faithful centered on Gerrit Cole’s incredible achievements in 2023.
Many Yankees faithful marveled at the consistency and dominance Gerrit Cole had displayed throughout the season. They recounted his countless memorable moments, each pitch etched into their collective memory. From his lights-out performances against arch-rivals to his ability to rescue the team from tight spots, fans reminisced about the times Gerrit Cole had carried the hopes of an entire city on his shoulders.
Gerrit Cole didn’t require a lot of assistance from his teammates, and he didn’t want to look back on things just yet because his season wasn’t over. He explained that his main focus is preparing for the next game and acknowledged that he has lived up to the expectations tied to his $324 million contract. For four years as a Yankee, the ace has been exactly the star player the team hoped he would be.
After another good night, Gerrit Cole moved one step closer to possibly winning an award for his great season. It was clear to Yankees fans, Gerrit Cole’s journey to potential Cy Young glory was not just a storyline in a baseball season but a source of immense pride and joy. They eagerly awaited the chance to witness their ace etch his name into the history books of the storied franchise.
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