Gerrit Cole’s struggle in Tampa leaves Yankees manager with regrets

Yankees manager Aaron Boone after his team lost to the Rays on May 7, 2023, at Tropicana Field.
John Allen
Monday May 8, 2023

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On Sunday, the New York Yankees were in a dominant position, seemingly poised for a series win against the Tampa Bay Rays. The stakes were high, and victory was crucial for the Yankees. However, the outcome was a stunning and unexpected disappointment.

Despite their early success, they were unable to maintain their commanding lead of 6-0, despite having ace pitcher Gerrit Cole on the mound. The Rays made a strong comeback and eventually won 8-7 in 10 innings.

The defeat left Yankees manager Aaron Boone looking for excuses. He responded to questions:

“I think they just took advantage of mistakes and turned it into slug……in hindsight, probably should have got him [before Bethancourt]. But … it’s our ace, and he’s been so good managing situations this year.”

Gerrit Cole lost the game

Gerrit Cole’s streak came to an end as the Yankees lost their lead and eventually the game. This season, Cole has gone 51 innings without allowing a home run. He allowed two home runs and a six-run lead to the Yankees on Sunday, leading to the Rays’ 8-7 victory in 10 innings.

Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ finest pitcher, and his manager both felt horrible after being hit hard by the Rays in the middle innings.

gerrit-cole-new-york-yankees
AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Before the problems in the fifth inning, Gerrit Cole had thrown 60 pitches over four scoreless innings. His first pitch to Jose Siri, with one out and the Yankees leading 6-0, was a four-seam fastball right down the center. Siri blasted a home run to the outfield. The Rays scored an unearned run thanks to two singles and an error, setting the stage for a complete collapse in the next inning.

On an inside fastball and a down-the-middle slider, respectively, Harold Ramirez and Isaac Paredes hit consecutive doubles in the sixth inning, and then Gerrit Cole lost a battle with Manuel Margot, who walked on eight pitches.

A 6-3 advantage for the Yankees was not much. Aaron Boone didn’t have any other options like Ron Marinaccio or Ian Hamilton and he employed Gerrit Cole, who had already thrown 94 pitches. Christian Bethancourt connected on his 95th pitch, a slider straight down the center, scoring three runs and tying the game. At that point, Boone left the bench to go take out Gerrit Cole.

Yankees manager Boone turned candid

Boone later admitted that it might have been better to take Gerrit Cole out before Bethancourt’s homer, but he added that Cole is their ace and has been excellent at handling situations this season.

According to Gerrit Cole, his performance was “frustrating,” and he believed that he had already lost the match when he was behind in the count.

“I’ve got to find a way to do a better job to get us out of there and get us a little bit deeper and prevent the runs,” Cole said later. “The lack of command really burned us, and balls over the plate were touched.”

The most outstanding pitcher of the Yankees was honored as the AL Pitcher of the Month last week. He was unbeatable because he restricted home runs. Gerrit Cole allowed the most home runs (33) in the majors last year.

Aaron Boone is talking to the press at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Feb 15, 2023.

On Sunday, He allowed six runs (five earned) over five-plus innings. His earned run average increased from 1.35 to 2.09. Though he’s off to a tremendous start, his greatest game so far this season ended in disaster.

Boone said that they had made a few mistakes and the opposition was able to capitalize on them.

The Yankees may have lost the series to the Rays, but manager Boone and starting pitcher Gerrit Cole both still believe their team is improving. The Yankees ace was brutally honest with himself after allowing six runs (five earned) in the fifth and sixth innings of Sunday’s 8-7 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“Well, I thought we played ’em tough,” he said. “Three one-run games — yeah, it’s always a battle against these guys. I thought that the level of competition was there from every pitch. I thought that the guys picked me up so huge today, I mean, making this a competitive game all the way to the 10th. They did a fantastic job offensively, continuing to put good swings and have good at-bats.

Gerrit Cole said that he felt like the team had made progress throughout the series but acknowledged that he let them down by losing the lead. His (5-0, 2.09 ERA) got off the hook with a no-decision after the Yankees’ response in the seventh inning. Jose Trevino‘s groundout to third scored Harrison Bader, but last-place New York (18-17) lost in 10 innings to the AL East-leading Rays (28-7), which would have given them a three-game series win.

Boone feigned difficulty

Aaron Boone expressed that it was a difficult game for the Yankees, stating that it is a normal part of the game to have both come-from-behind wins and losses like this. He noted that the team fought hard to get back into the game, but the Rays were able to capitalize on a big inning. Boone gave credit to the Rays for their performance.

Boone mentioned that it was a difficult loss, but emphasized the importance of moving on from it since they are starting a big homestand the following day.

Aaron Boone
AP

The Yankees trail the Rays by 10 games and the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games for fourth place. On Monday, they’ll begin a three-game series against the Oakland A’s (8-27), which is a great opportunity to get back on track.

There will be a four-game series against the Rays at Yankee Stadium starting on Thursday, which will be a rematch of the recent game, and it will mark the end of the current homestand.

“Tough one obviously, but it’s part of your year, Boone said. “We’re going to have great come-from-behind and we’re going to have these over the course of the year.”

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Gerrit Cole’s struggle in Tampa leaves Yankees manager with regrets

  1. Boone tries too much to be a champion of his players even when it cost his team games. Bader hits a 3 run homer and next day the Manager gives him a day off to rest ? He didn’t ask for the day off and you made another bad decision. You played Hicks in his place and he went 0-4 and left 7 runners on base. Stop with the admiration for Hicks, I don’t hate him personally but he is not producing and to play him is an insult to the fans paying good money to see the team play. Bottom line fire Boone and Cashman, the Boss would have done that last year, and hire Donny “Baseball” Mattingly. Hold people accountable for misplays and not producing. Don’t bother sending Hicks to AAA, release him, and light a fire under Torres to actually “run” to first because you never know. One last thing, why does the relief pitcher warm up prior to going into the game and then throw 4 balls to walk his first batter? What was he doing in the bullpen all that time? Bill Martin may have been an extreme but sometimes I want his fire to confront players when they mess up at that level.

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