Needless to say I have many thoughts about how the Yankees’ season ended Tuesday, some of which I’ll expand upon soon. But for the sake of brevity today, let’s just stick with the general (harsh) reaction many Yankees’ fans, and some local media had toward Gerrit Cole after his not so good performance Tuesday night.
Every complaint about Cole not being clutch, every reference to his salary, every criticism other that “he just didn’t pitch well, which happens to everybody” is just plain silly. I get being frustrated – heck I was (am?) frustrated too – it’s why we’re fans. Yet my suggestion is to take a step out of the forest and look at the trees from the outside before knocking Gerrit Cole.
For those of you who keep referencing his contract yes, the Yankees signed Cole to a nine year, $324 million dollar contract prior to the 2020 season. Since then, he’s been the best pitcher in the American League, leading AL pitchers in WAR, K%-BB% and opponents’ OBP. I’m not sure what the expectation of him is – being the best isn’t good enough?
Secondly, if you’re one of the fans who was screaming Tuesday night about how he isn’t clutch, I’ll say it again: I don’t believe in clutch. But if I did, I’d point out Cole has a career 2.93 ERA in the postseason over 86 innings. Nestor Cortes Jr. posted a 2.90 ERA in 93 innings this season and you’ll agree with me when I say Nestor was pretty damn good.
Finally, Cole was quite obviously not 100% on Tuesday and hasn’t been since he had a hamstring issue on September 7th. His next start after the 7th was only delayed by two days, and when he resumed he posted a 6.35 ERA over 22.2 innings in four starts. As noted by the Statcast broadcast team during Tuesday’s game (you weren’t watching the ARod, Vasgersian version…were you…?!?) Cole’s velocity had been down since the hamstring issue. Given he also walked 7 and surrendered 5 HR over those 22.2 innings, I think we can safely say his command was affected by the injury as well. (Keep in mind: if he missed significant time in September during a Wild Card race, he would have been labeled “soft” by many. He continued to pitch because he knew he was needed.)
I get it if you want to vent, I did some venting myself. But there are far better targets in the Yankees’ organization upon whom you can vent your frustrations other than Gerrit Cole – my suggestion is to focus our attention upon them.
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