Gerrit Cole’s usual pre-start routine was replaced by a flood of phone calls and text messages. The Yankee ace imposed a double duty on the week, providing information to teammates about a clubhouse epidemic that confirmed the COVID-19 week’s “breakthrough” case within the team’s traveling party.
Cole handed this extra work to others when he marched into Tropicana Field on Wednesday, and his vision was locked only by the dismantling of Rays ’tenacious lineup. This seemed to be a reprieve for the right-wingers, who decided over 12 in eight dominant innings in the Yankees ’1-0 victory.
“Anytime we can play now, it’s like a nice release,” Cole said. “The only thing we need to focus on is the game, so it’s kind of easier for us. We need to take our heads off everything that has happened in recent days, because that is our job.
The Yankees have won 11 of their last 14 games and improved to four games over .500 in the 20-16 season.
Aaron Hicks raised the sacrifice of the seventh inning, providing the necessary room for victory for Cole, who relied heavily on his four-stroke quick-orb to scatter four hits without walking in a stellar 106 performance.
“He’s an ace,” Manager Aaron Boone said of Cole. “Absolutely a bulldog. I think he lives for throwing when it’s hard and in the biggest game. We needed it all in a 1-0 match. Despite blowing through these parts of the game and showing them light enough, there was plenty on the line on every track.
Cole’s third player, Brett Phillips ’strike career, was 1,500. According to Elias Sports Office, Cole (1,315 1/3 innings) is the fourth fastest MLB pitcher to reach the milestone.
The exit meant Cole’s first win in the regular season over the Rays. The right-hander took the field 0–4 with a 3.91 ERA in Wednesday’s race against eight Tampa Bay starts. Against the Rays, he scored 3-0 in four post-season races with 1.67 ERA, including last year’s American League Division series win.
“I certainly enjoy playing sensible games,” Cole said. “A lot of things happened today and it was a bit of a challenge to focus on the game, but once you’re there, that was the usual thing to do. I try to keep this mindset constant; useful if there is a little more on the line. “
Catcher Kyle Higashioka said Wednesday’s conditions were “slightly different than usual” but he didn’t notice much difference in Cole after the game started. Cole emptied the tank in the eighth inning, hitting Mike Zunino, Willy Adames and Phillips in a 12-step frame.
“He seemed pretty dialed all night, but if he had to find additional equipment to get even better, he was able and prepared for that,” said Kevin Cash, Rays manager.
Cole’s last pitch was a 98.8 mph fast ball that Phillips spun through. Cole stared at the home plate for a moment, then spent the next few minutes decompressing in the recess as Aroldis Chapman prepared to step closer.
“It was probably best to go to Chappy there,” Cole said. – There was such a rope for a while. It was a smart decision. “
Slamming the door
Chapman worked a perfect 15th on his nine rescues, with as many opportunities as possible, securing the Yankees ’first series win at Tropicana Field between May 10-12, 2019.
“You always want to convince any team on your team,” Higashioka said. “Mathematically, you get double the credit. It’s definitely good to be able to win the first games of the series and we hope for one more [Thursday]. “
Chapman performed for the fourth time in five days, Boone said there is a preliminary discussion about the possibility of using Chapman in a rescue location.
“Being in the division makes a little more sense,” Boone said. “I rarely do this, so a lot of factors go into it. We have a fairly honest dialogue with our mitigators and Aroldis. I had a good time using it tonight.
Frazier throws up
Yint’s winger Clint Frazier was thrown out by home referee Bill Miller in the fifth inning due to balls and strikes.
It was Frazier’s first career, and Boone didn’t seem pleased with the fact that he came on a night when the bench was short-handed with Gleyber Torres, waiting for the COVID-19 test results. Brett Gardner played the rest of the match in the left field.
“Obviously, to play a short man tonight, that’s not ideal,” Boone said. – I’m just leaving.