The curious case of Gerrit Cole turning an ‘absentee’ All-Star

Gerrit Cole is seen during the Yankees vs. Cubs game on July 09, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

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This past Sunday, Gerrit Cole received an All-Star recognition for the sixth time in his 11-year career as a baseball player. However, it is interesting to note that despite being selected multiple times, he has pitched in the All-Star game only once and mostly remained absent from the mound.

Gerrit Cole revealed his desire to start the All-Star game, mentioning that he would like to check that goal off his list. However, he admitted uncertainty about how the situation would unfold in the upcoming week, indicating that he was unsure about his chances of starting the game this time.

Is it possible that Gerrit Cole will make his second appearance in the All-Star on Tuesday by starting the game for the first time? There is a chance for that to happen.

Gerrit Cole’s schedule problem

According to the schedule, Gerrit Cole is set to be the starting pitcher for the Yankees in Saturday’s game against the Cubs. If he does start that game, it means he will have only two days of rest before the Midsummer Classic.

Although it may not be the best scenario, if Gerrit Cole approaches the situation as a regular bullpen session that he usually has between starts, it could be a reasonable approach.

When Gerrit Cole participated in his only All-Star Game in 2015, he did so with just three days of rest before pitching. The other four times he was selected as an All-Star, he would have had even less rest, pitching on either one or two days of rest.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in 2023

Another thing to consider is that the Yankees have different plans for Gerrit after the All-Star break. As of now, they are aiming for Carlos Rodon to start the first game after the break, which would be on Friday against the Rockies. Domingo German would have an additional day of rest and start on Saturday. If everything goes according to plan, Gerrit Cole would then have a chance to start on Sunday, which would be five days after the All-Star Game.

The absence of aces puts Gerrit Cole at the forefront

Another advantage for Gerrit Cole is the decrease in competition from other starting candidates. Shane McClanahan, the ace pitcher for the Rays who was considered a strong contender to start, got injured and was placed on the injured list with mid-back tightness on July 1. Shohei Ohtani, the talented player for the Angels who excels both as a pitcher and hitter, had to leave his recent start due to a blister issue. Ohtani has since announced that he does not intend to pitch in the All-Star Game to the delight of the Yankees ace

Gerrit Cole’s competitors

Gerrit Cole had said he believed that Shohei Ohtani and Nathan Eovaldi were among the deserving candidates to start the game. Despite a somewhat uncertain start in Boston on Thursday, Eovaldi currently boasts an impressive record of 10 wins and 3 losses with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.83. Additionally, he has accumulated 109 strikeouts in 117 ⅔ innings pitched. This will only be Eovaldi’s second career All-Star Game appearance, but he poses a significant challenge for Gerrit Cole in securing the starting position.

Ace Gerrit Cole is seen with a young fan at the 2023 Yankees spring training camp, Tampa, FL.

Eovaldi’s chances of starting the All-Star Game are further bolstered by the fact that he pitched on Thursday, allowing him to be well-rested for Tuesday’s game. Furthermore, the Rangers have been a surprising team in the first half of the season, leading the American League West division. 

The Astros’ top pitcher Framber Valdez, who, like Gerrit Cole, is set to start on Saturday, deserves recognition for his performance this season. He currently holds a record of 7 wins and 6 losses, with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.49, which is the best among qualified starting pitchers in the American League. This will be Sonny Gray’s third time participating in the All-Star Game, representing each of the teams he has played for except the Yankees. The right-handed pitcher for the Twins is also scheduled to start on Saturday. He currently holds a record of 4 wins and 2 losses, with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.50 and gives stiff competition to Gerrit Cole.

Gerrit Cole mentioned that if he was not satisfied with the situation, he would need to improve his pitching performance. According to him, that was the key to addressing any concerns or dissatisfaction he may have had.

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