HOUSTON – Gerrit Cole landed the richest contract for a pitcher in history in December 2019, based largely on how he performed for the Astros.
On his return to Minute Maid Park with the Yankees it doesn’t look so good for Cole. He hasn’t looked like this since MLB started using foreign substances against pitchers.
Cole had an ERA of 1.78 in 11 starts before a raid was revealed on June 3rd, and has an ERA of 5.24 in six starts since then.
The right-handed again admitted making adjustments but also dismissed the notion that the two are related – even after consecutive ugly starts against the Red Sox and Mets, where Cole was in just 8 ½ innings.
« At this point it has nothing to do with enforcing the rules four or five weeks ago, » said Cole, before the Yankees played their streak against the Astros on Friday night opened. “There are ups and downs in your delivery as the game goes on throughout the season. We have to tighten a few things and we have to try that against good teams here. That was my focus and that is what we identified as a group to make it tick. ”
Cole’s spin rates – which can be improved by using sticky substances – have decreased since the crackdown.In his last game, Sunday against the Mets, his spin rates were below his seasonal average on all of his seats.
Specifically, he was 246 RPM on his slider (of which he only threw five) and 149 on his Four-seam fastball (from which he threw 47).
On each of the six starts since June 3, Cole’s spin rates have been below his seasonal average on almost every field, except for his curveball and the move on June 9. June against the Twins and his slider against the Rays on June 3rd.
When asked for the latest numbers, Cole said, « I hate going back again and again. I’m trying to move forward but that was a really bad first inning. Very opportunistic damage on playing fields. After that we settled in well and positioned ourselves well. The following start, when we continued to dip with the Mets, again did not have enough problems at the edge of the plate and continued to miss the outside of the zone. These are changes of mind, these are changes in delivery focus. ”
It will be his last start before the All-Star break. When asked on Friday whether he intends to play the All-Star Game in Denver on Tuesday, Cole said, « I think so, » but he and the Yankees will discuss it after it starts on Saturday.
« We play against a good team that the American League measures up against and if they keep playing well we have to beat them in the postseason, « said Cole.
If Cole and his teammates don’t play better than they did in the first half , The Astros may not even have to play the Yankees in the playoffs.
« As a group, we’ve had ups and downs, » said Cole. « It would be good to finish it with a good grade. »
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