The Yankees followed up their impressive 13-game winning streak with a frustrating four-game rut.
But when the Yankees needed some kind of spark to turn things back in the right direction, Gerrit Cole stepped up and delivered an absolutely electric performance, striking out 15 Los Angeles Angels without a walk in seven masterful innings, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 win.
“Dominant. He’s obviously had some really good ones in his career and certainly with us the last two seasons. That for me was up there,” Aaron Boone said after the game. “That was a guy in control, I felt like a step ahead of those guys all day. I felt like his fastball was probably as good as it’s been all year and he just had a little bit of everything going.
“That was a Gerrit Cole ace dominant performance, and obviously coming at a good time after losing a few games.”
Cole’s dominance was on display right from the jump, as he struck out two in the first inning, including Shohei Ohtani for the first of three times.
Strangely enough, though, Kyle Higashioka said Cole’s bullpen warmup wasn’t quite as sharp.
“I actually thought his bullpen was pretty bad, but that’s usually an indicator that he’s going to have a great game,” Higashioka said. “As soon as he struck out Ohtani the first time I was like ‘Okay, he’s dialed in.’”
When Cole himself was asked about the performance, he pointed to a couple of different elements.
“I thought it was a combination of a few things,” he said. “We were executing really well, four pitches. I thought that we were unpredictable and able to use the fastball and challenge guys over the plate once we got the lead, so that’s helpful.”
Cole became just the third Yankee ever to have a 15-strikeout game with no walks, joining Masahiro Tanaka in 2017 and Michael Pineda in 2015.
He also set a new career-high with 32 swings and misses, and his electric fastball had a lot to do with that.
“I just was putting it pretty much where I wanted to. Decent mix, took some shots with the two-seamer which saved us a few pitches, got a couple whiffs on it, too,” Cole said.” So maybe a little different look in that regard helped some of the deception as well. It was a good day for the fastball.
“I felt like I just wasn’t exerting a ton of energy early and just able to locate. Then once I got in a rhythm, I was able to kind of add and subtract and felt confident I knew where the ball was going. I was able to feel a little bit more comfortable and let a few rip once we scored some runs.”
Cole was simply outstanding on Wednesday night in Southern California, and to be able to have such an outstanding game in front of friends and family, well that was just “the cherry on top,” as he said afterwards.
Source: Yahoo Sports