With two homers on Friday night, “DJ (LeMahieu) had a great game. (Catcher Ben) Rortvedt had a great game and it was nice to get this series started off right.
“We had some tough chances in the infield, we made some good plays… it was a good team effort,’’ Cole said after a convincing 6-2 win over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays.
In this lost Yankees season, a sharp night like Cole’s – one run, three hits, no walks, 11 strikeouts at Tropicana Field – comes with that gnawing what-might-have been feel.
Just shy of his 33rd birthday, Cole is barreling toward his first career Cy Young award. He’d be the first Yankee to win the trophy as the AL’s best pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2001.
And it’s happening at the peak of his prime, with the Yankees in their worst season since 1992.
Gerrit Cole on the Cy Young award: It would mean a lot
In dropping his ERA down to an AL-leading 2.95, Cole’s 100-pitch effort Friday was “about as good as I’ve seen you,’’ manager Aaron Boone told the right-hander afterward.
Cole credited pitching coach Matt Blake, pitching coordinator Sam Briend and “some help from a friend of mine’’ for pointing him in the right direction.
That unnamed friend?
“He’s probably going to be in the Hall of Fame one day,’’ said Cole, not confirming his identity.
Mostly, Cole benefitted from the deep dive with Briend and Blake on gaining “some consistency getting through the ball,’’ increasing his spin rate.
“It doesn’t always work out where you see results right away,’’ said Cole, who felt an adjustment was necessary, coming off a season high six runs allowed in four innings against Boston.
Cole said he’s not thinking about the Cy Young award, but that “it would mean a lot” if he received it the prize, which he narrowly lost to Houston Astros teammate Verlander in 2019.
“But I’ve got to get ready for Detroit next week. That’s kind of all I know how to do.”
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Gerrit Cole Cy Young Award 2023 chances: Yankees ace delivers again
Source: Yahoo Sports