It may be Opening Day, but Gerrit Cole was in midseason form. Taking the mound on a sunny, yet chilly afternoon in the Bronx, Cole dazzled against the San Francisco Giants, shutting them out as the Yankees earned a 5-0 victory.
After walking the first batter of the game, LaMonte Wade Jr., on four pitches, Cole locked in, striking out four straight hitters while consistently hitting the high-90s with his heater.
"It was cold. It was tough to feel the hand," Cole said after the game. "I didn’t think my command was great all day. I did make some good pitches in some good situations, but I thought [Jose Trevino] was using what we had really well, and he was locked in, giving us the most margin for error with the pitches that he was calling.
"Obviously, it was nice to get a lead right out of the shoot with Aaron [Judge}, to be able to attack the middle of the strike zone, and then we continued to tack on from there so I just tried to remain as efficient as I could."
Attacking the zone is exactly what Cole did from that point forward. Cole recorded his 10th strikeout in the fourth inning, setting a Yankees Opening Day record in the process. The previous club record for Opening Day strikeouts was nine, set by Tim Leary in 1991.
"I didn’t know at the time," Cole said of setting the Yankees' record. "…Honestly, after the first batter I would have told you I would have been happy just to get through five. I didn’t quite know how that was going to shake out when you fire four high to start the game. Strikeouts or no strikeouts, just needed to keep the team in the ballgame and hold the lead. It’s a really special moment, but it wasn’t my focus and I’m glad I was able to get the job done regardless."
Making his fourth straight Opening Day start for the Yankees, Cole ended up throwing six shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out 11 batters with just two walks. He threw 95 pitches on the afternoon.
"Opening Days are always really special for players, whether you throw the first pitch of the season or just the first pitch of your Opening Day game." Cole said afterwards. "It’s a really cool experience. "