Yankees overcome shortest career start by Gerrit Cole as bullpen helps them hold on for win over Tigers – The Denver Post

DETROIT — Gerrit Cole and the Yankees were hoping for a quick night playing in the cold Tuesday. They never could imagine the nightmare that played out in slow motion for their supposed ace.

Cole lasted a career-low 1.2 innings, walking a career-high tying five and getting yanked with the bases loaded. Thanks to Clarke Schmidt and the Tigers’ mistakes, the Bombers held on to beat the Tigers 4-2 at Comerica Park.

“This game is obviously pretty disappointing,” Cole said.  “Last game, Vlad (Guerrero, Jr.) had a great night and the game before, Opening Day, we didn’t really know … that’s kind of uncharted territory for really a lot of people in the league, coming off of that (shortened) spring training and to be able to hold it where it was, was a pretty big positive for me.

“So yeah, I don’t claim to really know how to answer that for you,” an obviously frustrated Cole said. “I’m just I’m pretty, I’m pretty disappointed right now.”

Though the Yankees (6-5) won, Cole had every reason to be disappointed.

Cole walked a career-high four in the second inning, including three in a row. The five total walks tied the career-high he set on June 18, 2018, which was the only other time in his career he walked three batters in a row. He allowed two earned runs, including walking in a run with the bases loaded — a first in his career. He struck out three.

Schmidt saved the Yankees Tuesday night, coming in to throw 3.1 scoreless innings and scattering two hits. He walked one and struck out six. Schmidt picked up his first big league win and was given the team MVP belt.

“I was more nervous about giving the speech (to the team after getting the belt) than pitching,” Schmidt said. “The pitching was the easy part.”

The Yankees bullpen, which came into this game with the best ERA in the American League, made it look easy. They held a one-run lead for 7.1 innings. It was a lead the Yankees got a lot of help building.

In the first inning, the Yankees scored two on a pop up in front of the plate that pitcher Tyler Anderson had in his glove, but let it bounce out. After Anderson threw 42 pitches in the first, the Tigers went to Rony Garcia, who walked one and then split his nail. Will Vest let a runner score on a sacrifice fly. In the top of the ninth, DJ LeMahieu singled in an insurance run.

After being spotted the three-run lead, Cole gave up two right away.

He started off by giving up a single to Miguel Cabrera — his 2,996th career hit ― and then walked Akil Baddoo, Tucker Barnhart and Willi Castro, to score Cabrera. Robbie Grossman was out on a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Baddoo. Cole walked Austin Meadows to end his night after throwing 46 pitches in the second inning, 68 total.

“I probably shouldn’t have left him out there as long as I did. Just the weather and the number of pitches he was racking up, but with two outs and I just wanted to get one to get through it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He just couldn’t make that final pitch to get himself out of the jam.”

It was another night that Cole did not look like the dominant ace the Yankees went out and signed to a nine-year, $324 million deal in 2019. In his first two starts this season, Cole has bad moments, but overall looked fine. Tuesday night, he had a quick first inning, striking out the side and walking one.

So far, it’s been a very disappointing start to 2022.

Cole went into Tuesday night’s game with the highest barrel percentage (14.8) of his career and the highest expected slugging rate (.555) and tied for the second lowest strikeout rate of his career (23.1). His first pitch strike percentage is down 28.3 points and his first pitch swing percentage is also down slightly.

Boone said he thinks Cole is closer to being his old self than the numbers indicate.

“I get it, the results aren’t there and we’re talking about Gerrit Cole,” Boone said. “But I feel like it’s a lot closer to popping than the lines in these first few (starts).”

Cole left Tuesday night’s game with an ugly 6.35, the highest ERA in his career through three games, which he recognized. He is confident he will turn it around.

“I mean, certainly never had anything like that in my career before,” Cole said, “but it’s not something that we can’t get through.”

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