Baseball, as ever, is a fickle game. Shallow bloops turn into basehits. Scalding line drives get snared by well-positioned fielders. Sometimes, you send your ace to the mound, and he’s dominant, only to be felled unexpectedly by an inferior foe. Tonight, the Yankees sent out Gerrit Cole, and somehow managed to lose to the Orioles even as their $324-million man showed up with his best stuff.
The Yankees have lost some frustrating games in the past week. Falling to a tanking team when Cole brings a no-hit arsenal is a particular kind of frustrating.
Winner of the Game
Clint Frazier had the best game of the starters, notching two hits, including his fifth homer of the year:
The solo shot provided the Yankees their only run of the game.
More importantly, while some may not view a pitcher that yielded five runs in six innings as a “winner”, Cole had truly tremendous stuff today, and that has to be considered some sort of victory after a few outings where Cole didn’t seem quite right. Cole struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced, popped 100 mph on the radar gun for the first time this season, and induced a swing and miss on every fifth pitch, an excellent rate. The overall result was poor, but if this Gerrit Cole shows up every fifth game the rest of the way, the Yankees won’t lose many more of his starts.
Loser of the Game
On the hitting side, Gary Sanchez had another nightmare game, striking out in all four of his plate appearances for a golden sombrero. In the field, Thairo Estrada committed a throwing error in the sixth inning that preceded four unearned runs allowed by Cole. The Yankees may have been able to escape the sixth down only 1-0 had Estrada made the play, though Cole absolutely deserves some blame for allowing those extra runs to cross.