Yankees: Breaking down Gerrit Cole’s masterful pitching performance against the Orioles

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees took their record above .500 for the first time in the young 2021 MLB season, as they beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 behind a truly masterful performance by their pitching ace, Gerrit Cole.

Cole led the Yankees to the victory with seven scoreless innings in which he struck out 13 hitters. He allowed just four hits and no walks en route to the win.

“I certainly think I’m more comfortable,” Cole told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It’s been a lot easier than inserting yourself into a new team in the environment that we had last year. It’s a more normal setting, more normal season, people in the stands. So therefore, I do feel a little more comfortable, for sure.”

The Yankees’ star pitcher didn’t even need 100 pitches to cover his seven frames, as he used just 97. Of that total, a whopping 71 were strikes. He touched 100.5 mph with his four-seam fastball, perhaps his biggest weapon.

His Yankees’ teammates were impressed

His Yankees’ teammate Aaron Judge had praise for Cole. “He was impressive. He attacked from the first inning,” the outfielder said. “That’s what I love to see out of our ace, going out there attacking guys, attacking hitters — racking up about 13 K’s. He could have had a lot more, I think, too. It’s great to see out of his second start.”

In total, Cole used 40 fastballs, 23 sliders, 21 curveballs, and 14 changeups, and generated an awfully impressive 27 swings and misses.

He was so dominant that, at a time in which the theory states that rival hitters start to figure pitchers out (the third time through the lineup) he wasn’t even touched: the Yankees’ frontline starter retired the last 12 batters he faced.

“It’s pretty fun when he’s getting big strikeouts to end [the] inning, getting fired up,” said catcher Kyle Higashioka. “When we punch a guy out to end the inning and the fans go wild, I definitely missed that.”