Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Yankees Ace Cole Makes Long-Awaited Season Debut


Gerrit Cole firing one in to Baltimore’s Ryan O’Hearn in the fourth inning Wednesday night. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees entered Wednesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at The Stadium with the best record in Major League Baseball at 51-24.

What makes it all the more remarkable is they did it without their ace, Gerrit Cole.

The 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner suffered nerve inflammation in his elbow in spring training, and missed nearly the first three months of the season.

After three rehab starts, Cole will be making his season debut on Wednesday night against the Orioles, who enter with a record of 47-25.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, in his pregame press conference on Wednesday, was asked how much adrenaline Cole would have taking the mound, and he said, “Yeah, I mean, a good bit. You know, one of the things he does very well is, you know, control that. I feel that’s something he’s done better and better over the last, you know, two since we’ve had him. I feel like that’s been an area that he’s really improved at, just managing himself, managing game situations, managing success with a bump on the road on the mound. That’s where I feel like he’s grown so much, you know, obviously being one of the great pitchers of this generation, but I feel like his maturity on the mound should put him in good position to handle what should be an exciting, emotional day getting back on the mound.”

Boone said of the feeling that he would have Cole back in the rotation, “I think it’s been building the last few days, you know, when he showed up in Boston, kind of got through that, you know, the day after pitching his last time (in the minors), and kind of that realization that he’s joining our rotation even though not fully built up yet. You know, there’s been a lot of building excitement towards that, but at the same time, I don’t want to over, like, I just want him to, you know, build properly, get off to a good start, and not, you know, overhype one start. You know, it’s a step along the way for him and for us, and I look forward to him getting back out there.”

Cole was still a part of the team in the time he was out, as he would always be seen in the dugout counseling his fellow members of the starting rotation, which performed superbly in his absence.

Boone said of the boost Cole will give the rotation, “I mean, he’s reining Cy Young (award winner), enormous part of our team, and enormous part of our culture, you know, so to have him kind of work his way back to this point, to be ready to go out and compete at this level is exciting, certainly, for all of us, but also don’t want to get, you know, too emotionally invested in all of that as well. It’s like, you know, it’s a process still here of getting him where we need to get him, but feel like he’s in a really good spot and throwing the ball really well.”

Gerrit Cole warming up. Photo by Jason Schott.


TOP 1st:

1. Gunnar Henderson led off with a double down the right field line. The liner went off second baseman Gleyber Torres’ glove.

2. Adley Rutschman popped out to shortstop Anthony Volpe, who made a running grab - ONE OUT

3. Ryan Mountcastle grounded to second - TWO OUTS

4. Ryan O’Hearn doubled the other way to left field to bring in Henderson and make it 1-0 Baltimore.

Ryan O’Hearn connecting on his double. Photo by Jason Schott.

5. Anthony Santander flew out to center field - THREE OUTS - 1 run on 2 hits in the frame 

Bottom 1st - Yankees tied it as they loaded the bases and Gleyber Torres hit a sacrifice fly.


1. #6 in lineup - Colton Cowser popped out to shortstop - ONE OUT

2. #7 in lineup - Cedric Mullins flew out to center field - TWO OUTS

Cole firing one in to Cedric Mullins. Photo by Jason Schott.

3. #8 in lineup - Ramon Unrias grounder to shortstop, Anthony Volpe made a nifty backhand on the one-hop liner - THREE OUTS


1. #9 in lineup - Jorge Mateo struck out swinging - ONE OUT

2. #1 in lineup - Gunnar Henderson walked, then stole second base 

3. #2 in lineup - Adley Rutschman struck out looking - TWO OUTS

4. # 3 in lineup - Ryan Mountcastle struck out swinging - THREE OUTS


1. #4 in lineup - Ryan O’Hearn lined out to center field - ONE OUT

2. #5 in lineup - Anthony Santander struck out swinging - TWO OUTS

3. #6 in lineup - Colton Cowser struck out swinging - THREE OUTS


3. #7 in lineup - Cedric Mullins singled.

That was all for Cole’s night, and as he exited he tipped his glove to the crowd. 

Ron Marinaccio came on for Cole, and he gave up a two-run home run to the first batter he saw, Ramon Urias, and Baltimore was up, 3–1.

That closed the book on Cole, whose final line was: 4 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches, 40 for strikes.

Baltimore eventually went up 5-1 in the top of the seventh, but Giancarlo Stanton crushed a three-run homer off Yennier Cano in the bottom half of the frame to bring the Yankees within a run.

Stanton delivered again in the ninth when he laced a single down the left field line off Baltimore closer Craig Kimbrel to bring in Anthony Volpe and tie the game at 5. This took Cole off the hook and gave him a no-decision, of which he had plenty last season.

Baltimore plated two runs in the top of the 10th off Yankees closer Clay Holmes, as Cedric Mullins got an RBI single, then came in to score when he stole third base and came into score on a throwing error by Yankee catcher Jose Trevino to make it 7-5.

The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the 10th against Dillon Tate when Ben Rice - in just his second game at first base for the injured Anthony Rizzo - got an RBI on a sacrifice fly to pull the Yankees within a run.

The rally was short-circuited when Oswaldo Cabrera was thrown out at second base on a stolen base attempt by Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman, and they held on for the 7-6 win.

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