Gerrit Cole closing in on Cy Young Award
Gerrit Cole is leading the pack in the American League Cy Young race, and could pick up first one for the New York Yankees since 2001.
As this forgettable season draws to a merciful conclusion, the one bright spot in the inky black Yankees firmament has been Gerrit Cole.
His latest outing saw Cole dominate the Blue Jays through eight spectacular innings on Thursday night, offering up an authoritative message to Cy Young voters. Carrying a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth, a one-out double was his only blemish in this, his longest outing since April. With his 14th win of the season, Cole struck out nine, giving up no walks and allowed two runs, reducing his ERA to an AL-best 2.75.
Cole’s last loss was on August 19 against the Boston Red Sox.
With 25 outings where he gave up two or fewer runs, Cole sits atop not just the American League but all of MLB.
Cole’s shot at perfection was put to rest by Alejandro Kirk’s one-out double to right-center in the sixth. After surrendering that hit, Cole fanned Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer. Notching up two more Ks in the seventh by fanning Bo Bichette and Davis Schneider, Cole’s shot at a shutout ended with Matt Chapman’s lead off double in the eighth turned into a run on a wild pitch two batters later.
In two starts against the Jays this season, Cole has thrown 11.2 scoreless innings and will get another run at them again next week in Toronto.
The biggest stroke of luck for Cole has been the premature ending of Shohei Ohtani’s season. While the Japanese phenom was (and possibly still is) a shoo-in for the MVP award, his performance on the mound had him leading the Cy Young race as well. With an ACL removing the competition, Cole must feel that he has the it in the bag.
Since the lowering of the pitcher’s mound to modern levels in 1969, Cole has the fifth-best ERA for a Yankees pitcher.
Should he win it, this would be the first Cy Young in Gerrit Cole’s brilliant 11-year career.
Who is the competition?
His competition for the American League Cy Young award includes Minnesota’s Sonny Gray (2.84 ERA in 174 innings), Seattle’s Luis Castillo (3.06 ERA in 188 1/3 innings) and Toronto’s Kevin Gausman (3.29 ERA in 178 innings, with 232 strikeouts, the best in the league).