Gerrit Cole’s postseason debut highlights how Yankees could be serious threat in MLB playoffs

Gerrit Cole throws pitch against Indians in playoffsGerrit Cole throws pitch against Indians in playoffs

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Gerrit Cole throws pitch against Indians in playoffs

Who knows if one resounding win is enough to serve notice that these postseason Yankees are different than the Sultans of Streaky who pogoed through an erratic regular season.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But it’s easier to believe that idea if Gerrit Cole is going to pitch like this when he gets the ball.” data-reactid=”33″>But it’s easier to believe that idea if Gerrit Cole is going to pitch like this when he gets the ball.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Yankees gave Cole a pile last winter, hoping he’d be their October ace, and he sparkled in his first chance in their postseason fishbowl. Cole dominated the Indians Tuesday night in a 12-3 victory in Game 1 of their AL Wild Card Series. The Yanks can advance to the AL Division Series with a win Wednesday.” data-reactid=”34″>The Yankees gave Cole a pile last winter, hoping he’d be their October ace, and he sparkled in his first chance in their postseason fishbowl. Cole dominated the Indians Tuesday night in a 12-3 victory in Game 1 of their AL Wild Card Series. The Yanks can advance to the AL Division Series with a win Wednesday.

If the Yankees keep playing like this? Well, look out, expanded playoffs. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Cole, backed by four home runs, allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings while his teammates shredded Cleveland ace Shane Bieber. Cole struck out 13 and walked none, something only Tom Seaver had done in a postseason game. Cole also became the first pitcher to have three different playoff outings with at least 12 strikeouts. Roger Clemens is the only Yankee with more strikeouts in a playoff game (15 in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS).” data-reactid=”49″>Cole, backed by four home runs, allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings while his teammates shredded Cleveland ace Shane Bieber. Cole struck out 13 and walked none, something only Tom Seaver had done in a postseason game. Cole also became the first pitcher to have three different playoff outings with at least 12 strikeouts. Roger Clemens is the only Yankee with more strikeouts in a playoff game (15 in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS).

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“This is why we got him,” Aaron Judge said of Cole in his postgame press conference. “We didn’t get him to throw in April. We didn’t get him to throw in May. We got him to throw in postseason baseball for the Yankees.” data-reactid=”50″>“This is why we got him,” Aaron Judge said of Cole in his postgame press conference. “We didn’t get him to throw in April. We didn’t get him to throw in May. We got him to throw in postseason baseball for the Yankees.

“He took it up another notch. When you have that kind of intensity, that type of, just being an animal out there, attacking hitters, doing his thing. That was fun to be a part of and looking forward to more.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Cole was making his 11th postseason start and it showed. He looked confident all night, even in rare spots of trouble. It was a contrast to Bieber, the likely AL Cy Young Award winner and perhaps AL MVP, too. Bieber, making his first career playoff starter, wilted.
” data-reactid=”52″>Cole was making his 11th postseason start and it showed. He looked confident all night, even in rare spots of trouble. It was a contrast to Bieber, the likely AL Cy Young Award winner and perhaps AL MVP, too. Bieber, making his first career playoff starter, wilted.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A tone-setting homer by Judge in the first inning gave Cole a quick 2-0 lead and the chance to relax. Throwing to Kyle Higashioka, the personal catcher who guided him to a 1.00 ERA over his final four starts of the season, Cole dominated with his fastball early on, which set up a curve that came at hitters disguised as strike before darting out of the zone.” data-reactid=”53″>A tone-setting homer by Judge in the first inning gave Cole a quick 2-0 lead and the chance to relax. Throwing to Kyle Higashioka, the personal catcher who guided him to a 1.00 ERA over his final four starts of the season, Cole dominated with his fastball early on, which set up a curve that came at hitters disguised as strike before darting out of the zone.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In the third inning, the Yankees held a 3-1 lead, but the Indians had runners on second and third with two out. Cole fanned Carlos Santana with 99-mph heat to end the threat.” data-reactid=”54″>In the third inning, the Yankees held a 3-1 lead, but the Indians had runners on second and third with two out. Cole fanned Carlos Santana with 99-mph heat to end the threat.

“I enjoyed myself,” Cole said afterward. “It was a nice night.”

He added: “We needed to set the tone for the series. I’m obviously very thankful and humbled to take the ball. … To be able to deliver that felt really good. It was definitely a special night. We have a lot more baseball to go.”

Cole’s three-month old son, Caden, was among the Yankees’ family members in a small section of fans allowed into Progressive Field, making it more of a special evening. Cole beamed each time he answered a question about that.

“It’s the first time going to the ballpark together as a family,” he said.

In addition to Cole’s performance, think of all that went right for the Yankees Tuesday night after a difficult season:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="They chipped away at the idea they’re not the same team away from Yankee Stadium, a slugger’s paradise. Aaron Boone was proven right about starting Brett Gardner (3-for-5 with a homer) over Clint Frazier. Gleyber Torres, who had a rough year, was 4-for-4 with a homer. Giancarlo Stanton smashed a ball 116.1 miles per hour and 443 feet, a majestic homer that made his other, overmatched at-bats forgettable.” data-reactid=”60″>They chipped away at the idea they’re not the same team away from Yankee Stadium, a slugger’s paradise. Aaron Boone was proven right about starting Brett Gardner (3-for-5 with a homer) over Clint Frazier. Gleyber Torres, who had a rough year, was 4-for-4 with a homer. Giancarlo Stanton smashed a ball 116.1 miles per hour and 443 feet, a majestic homer that made his other, overmatched at-bats forgettable.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Yanks did not have to dip into their pool of high-leverage relievers, either, thanks to Cole and the offense. Luis Cessa threw the final two innings, key because one fewer appearance for Zack Britton or Aroldis Chapman could have impact later in this postseason when the ALDS and ALCS are compressed into five-day and seven-day chunks.” data-reactid=”61″>The Yanks did not have to dip into their pool of high-leverage relievers, either, thanks to Cole and the offense. Luis Cessa threw the final two innings, key because one fewer appearance for Zack Britton or Aroldis Chapman could have impact later in this postseason when the ALDS and ALCS are compressed into five-day and seven-day chunks.

And, paced by Cole, they perhaps sent notice to the rest of the playoff field.

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