The Yankees knew what Gerrit Cole was all about. They got the baserunners but Tuesday in the Bronx could not find a way to get them home which leads to a Houston Astros 2-1 advantage in this ALCS. But these are the Yankees. They have been that come back team all season.
And this by all means is not the end of this ALCS rematch that has been billed as epic. They could face Cole again, and if they do, in a probable decisive game 7, they need to find a better way.
A better way to answer Cole who did not have his best fastball in this 4-1 loss.
And if Luis Severino does not give up that first inning home run to Jose Altuve, well the Yankees would not have been at a disadvantage and early in the game. When you face Cole in the postseason the task is more difficult than it is during the season.
Ask the Tampa Bay Rays. They could not score against Cole in two games of the ALDS and a .057 ERA is enough to show that. Even in their Bronx home run cathedral, Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees hit a lot of home runs, Gerrit Cole kept his ball in the yard.
Cole was again, with seven scoreless innings, the best pitcher in baseball. The Astros and Yankees are well matched, hence the word again for this rematch of the 2017 ALCS.
“It’s obviously a little frustrating we weren’t able to break through with him,” manager Aaron Boone said about his team and failure to hit Cole in key spots.
“But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance,” Boone said. “And anytime you’re facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to.”
And when Cole throws shutout ball, as he did, the Astros are expected to win. This was a gem by the expected AL Cy Young Award winner even though he did not have his best command of the fastball.
So how do the Yankees beat Gerrit Cole, if indeed they meet again for a Game 6 or a decisive Game 7 in Houston this weekend? Because everyone is aware that this will still be that epic series with rights to advance to the World Series.
“We weren’t able to get that hit tonight to really allow us to be in that game or even grab a lead at some point.” Boone said. “Frustrating but overall I thought from a plan standpoint and giving ourselves a really good chance, I thought our guys were able to do that.”
However, the plan did not work for the Yankees Tuesday afternoon into the evening. And to beat Cole, well the Yankees next time, assuming there is that opportunity, they need to be more patient and make the Right-hander work the count.
Boone said the Yankees were aggressive with their at bats. Perhaps, too aggressive and swinging at first pitches that once again kept the Cole pitch count to his advantage.
And as one observing scout said, figure from one or two NL teams observing the Yankees and Astros as potential World Series opponents, “You have to let Cole throw and take some pitches.”
The Yankees did try that at times. But for this postseason start, swinging or taking pitches would not have mattered as Gerrit Cole was not allowing the Yankees to have an opportunity.
So a Yankee loss Tuesday is no reason to panic. But with the Astros, also a good come from behind team, if they take this to deciding games in Houston, remember also they finished with the best home record in baseball.
But for the Yankees to meet the Nationals in the World Series they have to figure that answer and get to Gerrit Cole.
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