Analysis

Behind Gerrit Cole’s gem, Yankees look to sweep the O’s

The New York Yankees got another big win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night behind seven dominant innings from Gerrit Cole.

We paid the man $324 million, and Gerrit Cole was worth every cent of that contract last night. Opening day wasn’t his sharpest start, but he did pitch to the tune of 5 1/3 innings, 8 Ks, and 2 earned runs. Not bad by any means. But oh boy, the Orioles were in complete disarray from the jump as the Yankees’ Ace accumulated 7 innings, 0 runs allowed, and 13 strikeouts. We haven’t seen a Yankees pitcher amass those statistics since 2017 (Masahiro Tanaka). Gerrit Cole always said it, he wanted fans in the stands. Well, if he pitches like that, the whole country will be rooting for the dominance of Gerrit Cole. It’s so important moving forward that he continues to set the tone for this Yankees rotation. Overall they have been outstanding outside of one starter. This is exactly what Cashman and Boone envisioned coming into the season. With the bullpen depleted due to injuries and suspension, the once mystery portion of the roster seems to be a strength yet again. Of course, Yankees fans will wonder if it’s enough for October? Time will tell.

Cole’s Personal Catcher?

What did we learn most from this latest Gerrit Cole start? Kyle Higashioka will probably (and should) be the designated catcher for Cole moving forward. He was consistently sharp locating all of his pitches with pinpoint accuracy and in such a rhythm, I’m not sure anyone could have snapped him out of. As Gary Sanchez has come on strong of late, maybe they can experiment putting Stanton in left field and Sanchez as the DH for Cole’s starts. It allows Higashioka to catch our ace and allows Sanchez to focus on his hitting. It’s a win-win and something the Yankees should look into moving forward.

Gardy Produces from the 3-Hole

Giving the night off to Aaron Hicks seemed to be an odd move at first, but so far Aaron Boone has pulled all the right strings as Brett Gardner was slated for the 3-spot. In future Hicks off-days, Gardner should rarely, if at all ever bat in the 3-hole. Since it is early in the season, we can let it slide. He proved to be a spark plug, getting on base 3 times and scoring once on a rocket double from Stanton.

Yankees Offense Getting Hot?

The sky was falling after the Toronto Blue Jays series. The inconsistency of the lineup that has halted their postseason march to the World Series was on full display early on. Settling in will take time and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. It is the Yankees pennant race to lose, and I cannot imagine they let this chance squander. We are witnessing what a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton featured lineup looks like in the first two games of the Orioles series. Not only is it refreshing, but it is a notice to the other ball clubs that the Yankees are in fact scary.

Bruce gets his Yankees First

Also, shout out to Jay Bruce. The guy has been thrust into the starting first base job, has delivered not only on defense, but also in the batter’s box. He opened the Yankees scoring with a solo shot in the 2nd to get his Yankee career fully on the way. Obviously, the absence of Luke Voit is sorely missed. However, if Jay Bruce can keep up his patient batting approach and stingy defense, I cannot imagine the Yankees not finding time for him later on in the year. Boone has his hands full with roster management.

Looking Forward

Onwards to the series finale against Baltimore and a chance to sweep the Orioles for what seems like the 100th time in 3 years. Jameson Taillon is on the mound for the highly anticipated first start of not only his Yankees tenure, but first start since an injury-riddled 2019. The righty displayed fantastic control in his spring starts and looks to be a formidable piece in the Yankees’ quest to 28. What a series it has been so far. This also confirms that the Boston Red Sox seem really bad and we don’t hate that.

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