When the New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract last winter, they probably didn’t envision him leading the league in home runs allowed.
However, here we are, several months later, and Gerrit Cole has conceded more round-trippers than everyone else in the league. Crazy, but such is life in the 2020 season. Lots of weird things have happened this year, and this one is certainly an odd development.
While he has been one of the Yankees’ best starters, Cole has seen at least one ball leave the yard in each one of his eight starts. The problem has been especially worrisome in his last three turns, as rivals have taken him deep seven times over that span, covering 16.2 frames.
All told, Cole has 12 homers allowed in his eight starts.
The Yankees believe he will get it fixed
New York Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone seems to believe that the issue is temporary. “I think as we go here, hopefully that continues to go down as he just continues to execute a little better. But I also think any time you’re going up against an ace like Gerrit, from a game planning standpoint, I think guys sell out for some things a little differently than they normally would and sometimes those mistakes could turn into slug. He’s been bitten by that here obviously a few outings but I don’t expect it to become a trend,” he said according to NJ Advance Media.
The Yankees’ ace is still looking for answers.
“It’s been back to back starts where it felt really good and thought that had progressed with the stuff in each of the last few outings,” the right-hander said. “To not get rewarded for it and I guess probably underperform relative to the type of stuff and the ability to throw a lot of pitches at a high quality level, it eats at me a little bit. With what we had today, should have pitched better.”
Even last season, when he dominated to the tune of a 2.50 ERA, Cole allowed 29 homers. He has learned to be successful while flirting with the long ball, which happens when one pitches up in the zone so much like he does. But this year, the issue has aggravated. Will he be able to fix it? With his track record of recent success, he deserves the benefit of the doubt and some time to work through whatever issue he is experiencing.