The New York Yankees hosted the Boston Red Sox in the first game of the 2022 regular season on Friday. Luckily, the Bombers managed to escape with a 6–5 victory over 11 innings. However, starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole struggled to open his season, allowing three earned runs and a homer in the first inning. Luckily, he was far more effective over the next three innings, picking up three strikeouts, but his tough start could’ve been a result of a delayed opening process.
Gerrit Cole said that the delayed start to Opening Day was “an unforeseen challenge.” The delay was only four minutes.
Given how short the delay was, I’m not exactly sure how much Cole was impacted. It is possible that the timing and preparation are exact, and if his arm isn’t fully warmed up or cools down due to a delay, it could affect his pitching fundamentals. If that excuse is legitimate, it is clear that extra four minutes was essential to his success since he warmed up after the first inning and dominated afterward.
The Yankees are helping Cole expand upon his pitch sequence:
Despite his rocky outing, the Yankees’ Ace is looking to adapt his game a bit after spending 10 years in the MLB. Having primarily relied on his fastball and slider, Cole is considering adding another pitch to his repertoire. One he used back during his days with UCLA.
That pitch is a cutter, which he’s never thrown at the major league level.
“I think it’s a good fifth option in certain circumstances,’’ Cole said last week.
“I don’t have anything quite defined with what I want to do with it yet,’’ Cole said. “It’s just another option to get a strike or in games when some other pitchers aren’t working.”
If Cole decides to mix in his cutter more frequently, he will have to take a bit of action away from another pitch, which could end up being his slider. In his first game of the 2022 season, he threw his slider 38.2% of the time and fastball 41.2%, the lowest of his career. Obviously, that number will increase, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he took 5% of his slider usage and reallocated it toward his cutter.
“I don’t really know which pitch I’m gonna throw less as a result, but hopefully I’ll select it over several different pitches over the course of a game or season,’’ Cole said. “I’m just looking to sprinkle it in to add a little extra bit of unpredictability, extra something. An extra tool in the box.”