Gerrit Cole will toe the rubber for the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Guardians. Here’s why Yankees fans should enter with confidence.
Gerrit Cole is the starting pitcher of Game 1 of the New York Yankees postseason. After a Wild Card bye, they’ll face off against the lovable Cleveland Guardians, but there will be no love lost between Cleveland and New York in the ALDS.
Cole has faltered at times this season, but he’s performed quite well this year against Cleveland, which should get Yankees fans excited about taking a 1-0 lead in the ALDS.
Gerrit Cole has struggled in instances, but not against Guardians
Gerrit Cole has pitched twice against the Guardians this year. While that’s not a major sample size, he has registered 47 plate appearances in those two games, both of which registered as a tally in the win column for Cole.
Stats that show Gerrit Cole has Guardians number: OBP of .234 (.316 overall)
Against Cole, the Guardians have posted an on-base-percentage of just .234, overall they posted a regular season OBP of .316. .234 would be the worst of any given team in the league if it held up for an entire season.
Cleveland’s .316 is good enough to put them sixth in the American League.
Stats that show Gerrit Cole has Guardians number: strikeouts
Cleveland struck out a league-lowest 7.0 times per game. Cole struck out the Guardians 15 times in 12.2 innings of work. Adjusted per-nine innings, that’s 10.6 strikeouts per game. That would be, yes, worst in the MLB (most strikeouts per game for a team was the Angels with 9.5).
Stats that show Gerrit Cole has Guardians number: .192 BABIP (.293 normally)
The Guardians love to swing the ball (second to the Astros of remaining AL teams in swing percentage, first in the league in contact percentage) and get the ball in play, so a crucial number in this series will be the batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The Guardians were middle of the road here this season (13th in the MLB, 6th in the American League) at .293.
Against Cole, that number fell to .192, which would have fallen below the worst in the MLB (Oakland, .264).
The Guardians may swing a lot, and there’s a chance they get good contact. Cole is below the 25th percentile in hard hit percentage and barrel percentage. But based on what we’ve seen, Cole gets the Guardians to place those balls just where the Yankees need them to get outs.