Gerrit Cole’s strange excuse for his poor performance against the Red Sox
Gerrit Cole made excuses for struggling against the Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole had a rough first inning on Opening Day. Rather than credit a powerful Boston Red Sox lineup for jumping out to an early lead, Cole blamed his poor performance on… Billy Crystal?
Crystal, one of the more well-known Yankee fans, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off Opening Day and the festivities ran a bit too long, as far as Cole was concerned. The impatient pitcher was caught on camera screaming “Let’s go!” from the dugout in an attempt to hurry the process along.
Cole was clearly rattled when he finally took the mound, issuing a four-pitch walk to Red Sox leadoff hitter Enrique Hernandez. The right-hander left a high fastball in the wheelhouse of Rafael Devers, which he crushed into the second deck in right field for a two-run homer.
A hard hit single that reached the wall in left field by Xander Bogaerts was followed by an RBI double from J.D. Martinez to put the Red Sox up by three in the opening frame. A frustrated Yankees crowd gave Cole a Bronx cheer when Alex Verdugo hit a ground ball back to the pitcher for the first out.
Cole settled down to prevent any further damage through his four innings of work, keeping the Yankees in a game that they would go on to win in extra-innings.
Despite that his team walked away with the win, Cole was still upset about the brief delay that he blames for his poor performance, according to the New York Daily News.
"“That was an unforeseen challenge. The festivities got a little away from the schedule,” Cole said. He went on to explain that it was like “you expect something and you don’t get it.”"
How long was this delay that created such a challenge? Four minutes. The plan was to begin the game at 1:08 p.m. but Cole wasn’t able to take the mound until 1:12 p.m.
Baseball players are creatures of habit so any disruption to their routine can have consequences. But four minutes? Hard to see how that makes a notable difference. What if this game had been played at Fenway Park where the Yankees lineup would bat first? Cole would have waited a lot longer than four minutes to take the mound.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t sharp in the first inning either, coughing up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo that helped the Yankees climb back into the game. You didn’t hear Nasty Nate complaining about a brief delay.
The last time Cole faced the Red Sox was in the Wild Card game last October, when Boston’s bats knocked him out after only two innings by tagging him for three earned runs. Including those two postseason innings, Cole allowed 15 earned runs over 24 innings pitched against the Red Sox last year.
He was eager to put last season’s failure behind him and Cole clearly grew frustrated when the Red Sox showed they aren’t afraid of the Cy Young candidate. Instead of praising his teammates for bailing him out, Cole whined about the pregame ceremony and made excuses.
Cole is fortunate that the Yankees came back to win with a walk-off in the 11th inning. Their fan base may have imploded from Cole’s comments if they were still stinging from a loss to their fiercest rival on Opening Day. We may have forever remembered this as “The Billy Crystal Game.”
The famed actor is highly regarded for his comedic roles but as far as Cole is concerned, Crystal’s appearance before the game was no laughing matter.