HOUSTON (Neth.) – Gerrit Cole delivered by far her best performance on Saturday-evening since news broke in early June that Major League Baseball planned to crack down on pitchers ’use of illegal sticky substances.
Cole’s stellar nine innings performance, in which he gave up three hits, walked two and got 12 outs in a 1-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park also had an interesting framing – Judge Aaron’s apparent track on the Astros’ Jose Altuve. More on that later, however.
After Aaron Boone chose to stay with Cole in the ninth against his old team instead of bringing in difficulties closer to Aroldis Chapman, Altuve selected on Cole’s first pitch to the goalkeeper. Michael Brantley sits in the center on a 3-and-2 pitch, the 10th pitch of the bat. Cole then hit Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez on his six-tone finish, leaving him on 129 tones.
Gurriel hits on a low, outside 0-and-2 slider, unable to control his swing. After a mountain visit from Boone, Cole knocked out Alvarez with a 0-and-2 99mph fastball to put an end to it.
It was the second consecutive Yankees three-hit block against the Astros.
After launching his 21st homer of the season – a moonshot from Zack Greinke to the third goalie – as Judge approached third, he pulled the top of his jersey along an Altuve when he reached home plate after he hit homer Chapman’s walk … win Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS in this building.
(He speculated / rumored that Altuve had some sort of buzz under his shirt and knew what pitch was coming that night, the reason he didn’t want his shirt torn off during the feast of patches the House.)
Altuve, just or not, faced the illegal board flight scheme that the Astros are engaged in during the 2017-18 seasons. Judge, Runaway AL Rookie of the Year in 2017, finished second in Altuve in this year’s MVP vote.
Judge, one of the most outspoken Yankees in spring 2020 training, while discussing MLB’s punishment of the Astros, which most people in the game find insufficient, said, among other things, that they should be taken titles. Judge also acknowledged that he deleted a congratulatory tweet he sent in 2017 after Altuve won the MVP.
Other than framing fun, Cole’s outing was undoubtedly the most important part of the evening when it comes to the Yankees ’long-term prospects this season.
Cole came in 8-4 with a 2.91 ERA but 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA in his previous six starts, his turn rate noticeably lower in that stretch.
“There are guys in the league who succeed with low turn numbers and stuff, and Gerrit’s mentality and how he studies hitters and how prepared he is when he goes to pitch, I mean seriously I have no doubt he is one of the best pitchers in the game, “said Sunday ‘s starter Jameson Taillon, a former teammate of Cole’ s and the Pirates. “I think he should just go out and play a game where he feels that a little bit.”
Without a doubt, that happened on Saturday night against the AL West leading Astros, who, despite missing Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, still have one of the most imposing lineups in the game. But Saturday’s group was completely restricted by Cole, who saw only two Astros reach second base and eliminate the first nine he faced.
Greinke gave up one run and three hits in four innings. He never explained why he came out after four innings and 65 tones (he threw 100 tones and 7 2/3 joins in his previous start, July 4 in Cleveland).
Cole knocked out Yuli Gurriel while looking at a slider at the end of the first, then knocked out Yordan Alvarez while looking at a 98mph fastball for the first of the second, then turned it into three straight The K as Kyle Tucker swung off with a 99-mile fastball.
Then, when Cole took the hill, he had a 1-0 lead, courtesy Judge deleted a 2-and-1 Greinke substitution on the left and two outs in the third.
Cole, meanwhile, is sure to retire nine consecutive times to start the game in the bottom half, taking just eight throws in the perfect frame, leaving him at 33 throws to three.
The track ended at nine when Cole walked Altuve on six tones to start the fourth, followed by a walk for Michael Brantley on four tones.
Cole quickly recovered by knocking out Gurriel on a quick 99mph ball and getting Alvarez into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Astros moved their second runner into position scoring a goalkeeper later when Abraham Toro selected in the middle and stole second base on Myles Straw’s wrist, but Martin Maldonado sat out from second base at the end of the goalkeeper.