Forget the box. That will show Clay Holmes as the losing pitcher.
But the loser Wednesday night for the Yankees was Gerrit Cole. He lost any remaining chances at his first Cy Young award. He lost any sense of invulnerability down the stretch when the Yankees wanted to hunt down their ace for a sure win every five days. And lost what became a 6-5 win for the Blue Jays everywhere but in the score box.
The Yankees recovered late from the quick 4-0 deficit that Cole put them into, tying the game 5-5 in the seventh only to see Holmes, who has been as good at just about everything as Yankee, including challenging long balls. , give. a starting home run for Yankees killer Bo Bichette early in the eighth.
So Cole finished without a decision. But it put Aaron Boone in position to potentially have to do some toughs. In particular, are the Yankees better served by bringing Cole back with a short layoff Sunday against the Rays if they need to win Game 162 to secure a playoff spot? And how much rope would Boone provide in Tuesday’s wild-card sudden death if the Yankees pull it off?
The answers are almost certainly “yes” and “a lot,” due to Cole’s pedigree, which includes how well he pitched for the Yankees in last year’s postseason. But now twice in the last three games, Cole has delivered more entry-level diner-worthy games at the end of the rotation rather than the highest-paid pitcher in history.
Cole said his hamstring, which was injured in a lost effort Sept. 7 against the Blue Jays, is not a factor. But from that outing, Cole has a 6.15 ERA in his last five starts. Throughout this year, he has focused on how pitchers would handle a full workload after just a 60-game regular season in 2020. But little attention was focused on Cole, due to his history as a top horse. age. Cole and Boone downplayed burnout as a factor. Kyle Higashioka said, “I think his things look good.” And when asked when he could start next, Cole said, “The last game of the year.”
That would be Game 162, if the Yankees need to win it. And that was more at stake on Wednesday. The Yankees had a chance to throw close to a fatal shot at Toronto’s postseason chances if they could win an eighth straight game. Instead, he ended his seven-game losing streak, allowing Boston to close out one game of the first wild-card spot and two for the Blue Jays, with the Mariners in the mix as well.
Now, in Thursday’s rubber game, the Yankees will face Robbie Ray, who now has practically locked up the AL Cy Young while Cole looks for a career runner-up.
“I’m certainly frustrated with my performance,” Cole said. “I’m not frustrated with staying in the game and being able to scratch back and draw 5-5.”
Of course, the Yankees didn’t guarantee Cole $ 324 million to keep them in games. He was appointed to master this kind of implication affair. But in the early laps of the lineup, it was Toronto starter José Berríos who thrived, pitching three perfect innings on 42 pitches.
Cole started this game with 100 strikeouts on 97 mph pitches, nine more than any other pitcher. But Toronto was looking for the heater and Cole was not precise in trying to set it up early in the counts.
Against the Blue Jays’ first nine batters, Cole allowed four extra-base hits, all on fastballs of 97 mph or faster, which included a two-run homer by Marcus Semien two batters in the first.
Cole missed his first swing and missed until one out and one in the second, when he threw 100 mph for ninth place to strike out Reese McGuire. But when the lineup changed, Springer hit another fastball for an RBI single and a 3-0 lead. In the third inning, Bichette hit another fastball for a home run to make it 4-0.
Cole struck out the next two batters and calmed down. But Joey Gallo made another bad move in a pop-up window. Even Boone said that Gallo had to take over George Springer’s pop at the start of the fifth, canceling Gio Urshela. Instead, the ball fell for a double. Springer took third with a fly ball and scored on an infield double that beat DJ LeMahieu. It was the seventh extra-base hit against Cole, as many as he gave up in his first seven starts this year.
The Yankees would rebound to tie. Holmes suffered defeat when Bichette, like Semien, hit his eighth home run against the Yanks this year. But that’s just a designation in a score box.
Because it was Cole who had endured an “L” one day.