New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, 33, is close to shedding the “perennial number two” label and finally getting his first Cy Young Award.
Cole started the 2023 World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., on Monday (Nov. 11) and pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out nine and walking none. He dominated the Milwaukee lineup with a mix of knuckleballs (25), sliders (12), cutters (11), and changeups (6) centered around a four-seam fastball (52) that topped out at 99 mph (159.3 km/h) and averaged 96.5 mph (155.3 km/h).
His overpowering fastball was a borderline ace. He didn’t get the win because he couldn’t get the bats going in a no-hitter until the 10th inning, but he lowered his season ERA from 2.90 to 2.79, solidifying his lead in the American League (AL) in that category. He also topped 200 strikeouts for the third straight year (204), ranking third in the AL in that category. Cole is the first Yankee to have three 200-strikeout seasons.
“It’s a great number, but I still have some work to do,” Cole said after the game, according to MLB.com, “200 strikeouts is something I’ve done before and I’m proud of. A lot of people helped me get there. The ball leaves my hand, but a lot of the thinking comes from other people. I’m grateful to be able to stay healthy and to have supportive people around me.”
Cole, who made his 30th start of the season, is 13-4 with a 2.79 ERA, 203 strikeouts, 1.03 WHIP and 2.14 WHIP in 187 innings pitched. First in the AL in ERA, second in WHIP, third in strikeouts, and tied for fourth in wins. He ranks in the top five in every major pitching category, making him the No. 1 favorite for the AL Cy Young Award. With three weeks left in the regular season, he has no real competition.
Luis Castillo (Seattle Mariners) is a contender with a 12-7 record, 3.08 ERA, and 191 strikeouts in 29 games (175⅓ innings), but he hasn’t won any of them. Sonny Gray (Minnesota Twins), who is second in ERA and chasing Cole, is just behind with 28 games (163 innings), a 7-6 record, a 2.98 ERA, and 160 strikeouts. Kevin Gausman (Toronto Blue Jays), who leads the league in strikeouts, is also 11-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 217 strikeouts in 28 games (167⅓ innings), but he’s no match for Cole.
Barring a major meltdown in his final three starts of the season, Cole is the favorite to win the award.
A former highly touted prospect who was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, Cole has been a consistent top-tier starter for 11 seasons since his debut in 2013. With nine seasons of double-digit wins and six All-Star selections, he was recognized for his value when he signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees in December 2019, the most expensive free agent contract ever for a pitcher.
But he hasn’t had a particularly strong relationship with the Cy Young Award, which is given to the best pitcher. In 2018 with the Houston Astros, he settled for second place behind teammate Justin Verlander (Houston), and in 2021, his second year with the Yankees, he had to settle for second place again when Robbie Ray (then Toronto, now Seattle) broke out.메이저사이트
But this year, he finally got his first chance at the Cy Young. Although the Yankees are in last place in the AL East (71-72, .497 winning percentage), Cole is struggling. He’s been an injury-free, full-time starter in his fourth year with the Yankees, making him a free agent success story, and a Cy Young would only add to that. The last pitcher to win a Cy Young Award as a member of the Yankees was Roger Clemens in 2001.