When Gerrit Cole pitches these days, his team simply doesn’t lose.
In fact, the New York Yankees prized offseason signing is on such an incredible winning streak right now, he has officially joined elite company.
In Friday’s 10-3 win against the Boston Red Sox, Cole pitched seven innings of one-run ball to pick up his fourth win in Yankees’ pinstripes. Overall, Cole has won 20 consecutive regular-season decisions. That streak ties the American League record held by Roger Clemens.
Gerrit Cole has won 20 straight regular-season decisions, tying Roger Clemens (1998-99) for the longest such streak in American League history.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 15, 2020
Clemens also joined the @Yankees in the offseason during his streak.#NYYforNY
Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell holds the MLB record with 24 consecutive winning decisions. He accomplished the feat during the 1936-37 season.
Cole will attempt to extend his streak and break the AL record next week against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gerrit Cole’s remarkable run
Since then, Cole has gone 27 regular-season starts without losing a decision. The Astros won 20 of his final 23 starts in 2019. The Yankees are 4-0 in his four starts this season, including a rain-shortened opening day complete game against the Washington Nationals.
During that stretch, Cole has posted a 1.94 ERA and a 260-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That is why the Yankees gave him a record nine-year, $324 million contract for a pitcher.
As noted, Clemens also moved to the Yankees during his 20-decision winning streak. That’s a pretty cool piece of trivia. Clemens won his final 15 starts — and the AL Cy Young award — for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 before signing with the Yankees and winning his first five decisions in 1999.
What about Gerrit Cole’s World Series loss?
Not a factor here.
While losing Game 1 of the World Series to the Washington Nationals definitely hurt Houston’s chances of winning it all, it did not impact his streak. All regular-season and postseason records are considered separate.
Cole allowed five runs over seven innings in that Game 1 loss. He bounced back to win Game 5 with seven innings of one-run ball. Houston would lose the series in seven games.
In his four winning postseason starts in 2019, Cole allowed just two earned runs over 29 1/3 innings. In other words, he was even more dominant than usual in October save for that one ill-timed hiccup.
Should we care about pitcher wins again?
We won’t go that far.
While wins will always be the most important thing in baseball, pitcher wins will always be the most overrated stat.
Why? Because history has proven that pitcher wins are too random to tell the real story about a game, an individual performance or a pitcher’s career. Too many things that are beyond the pitcher’s control can impact who wins and who loses the game. Frankly, it’s an outdated stat that needs to be retooled to have any significant meaning again.
That said, Cole’s case is a rare one. There are no holes to be poked in his streak. His wins have not only been earned, but they help define his excellence over the last two seasons.
Because of how random the win stat can be, it is difficult to win three straight decisions, let alone 20. Jacob deGrom might know that better than anyone. The two-time defending NL Cy Young award winner has won 21 games total the last two seasons despite posting a collective 2.05 ERA. It would not have been a fluke for deGrom to win 30 straight decisions. Unfortunately, he’s had little help along the way.
Cole’s streak is no fluke, but he’s definitely had help.
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