Yankees take extra precaution with ace, dodging injury bullet

gerrit cole, yankees
Jun 3, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are determined not to risk their primary ace, Gerrit Cole, under any circumstances.

Considering the number of injuries sustained in the starting rotation this season, prioritizing the protection of Gerrit Cole is essential.

In Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cole threw a mere 80 pitches before Manager Aaron Boone made the decision to withdraw him.

During his 6.0 innings on the mound, Cole allowed four hits and just one earned run, striking out five players. There’s a strong case to be made that he could have extended his performance into the eighth inning, conserving bullpen energy and preparing the team optimally for Sunday’s series finale.

Fortunately, Cole was quick to identify and report the pain he was experiencing, enabling Boone to promptly remove him from the game—a situation Boone referred to as “cramping.”

“It was tough,” Cole remarked. “It seems it was just one of those days. A challenging lineup made me execute numerous pitches. We managed it well, but as the game moved into the later innings, we didn’t want to risk anything.”

The Yankees’ decision concerning Gerrit Cole was well-calculated:

Avoiding potential injury was at the forefront of Cole’s mind—a sensible precaution given his track record as one of the team’s most consistent pitchers, both this season and in recent years.

Currently, he boasts a 2.82 ERA, with seven wins and zero losses to his name. He has struck out 84 batters, maintaining a 1.13 whip, and ranks in the 91st percentile for fastball velocity and the 87th percentile for fastball spin rate. His four-seam fastball averages 96.8 mph and yields a .188 batting average against with a 22.9% whiff rate.

Cole also employs a highly effective slider, which achieves a .226 batting average and 27% whiff rate at 89.2 mph. His slider generates 24% more horizontal movement and 5% more vertical movement than the average pitcher, with his fastball delivering 14% more horizontal and 13% more vertical movement.

In light of his stellar start to the 2023 season, we hope that Cole has effectively mitigated any potential injury risks and will be ready for his upcoming start.

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