Yankees’ Gerrit Cole picks up 2,000th career strikeout
Gerrit Cole picked up his 2,000th strikeout in his start against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
The 32-year-old came into Tuesday’s game two strikeouts away from the milestone and quickly picked it up in the second inning against the young Orioles team. The Yankees ace got Terrin Vavra on a 2-2 rising fastball that overpowered the left-hander.
The milestone strikeout came when Jorge Mateo went down swinging on a 97 mph fastball in the middle of the strike zone to become the 87th pitcher in MLB history to reach that mark.
Despite the milestone, Cole did not pitch well Tuesday.
He pitched five-plus innings, giving up five runs and picking up just those two strikeouts. When his night was done, the Yankees were down 5-4 until Aaron Judge's home run in the ninth inning tied it, and Anthony Volpe's walk-off sac fly won the game in the 10th.
"It's a pretty special accomplishment," Cole said after the game. "I was pretty depressed about the whole thing, for the most part, until Judgie came through and picked us up. Probably leaving the game more thrilled about how well we played as a team than accomplishing that."
Cole’s 2,000th strikeout made him the third-fastest pitcher to reach the milestone, in terms of games played. He’s behind Randy Johnson (262) and Clayton Kershaw (277) on the list. In terms of the fewest innings to get to 2,000 strikeouts, Cole is now the third-fastest with 1,714.2 IP. He's behind just Chris Sale (1,626.0 IP) and Pedro Martinez (1,711.1 IP).
The California native became the eighth pitcher to pick up their 2,000th career strikeout as a Yankee, joining David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Catfish Hunter, Mike Mussina, Bobo Newsom, Andy Pettite and CC Sabathia.
Entering Tuesday, Cole had 662 career strikeouts in four seasons in pinstripes. In five years with the Pirates, where he started his career, Cole struck out 734 batters. In his two-year stint with the Astros, Cole struck out 602 batters.
Cole struck out 257 batters last season, breaking New York's single-season record for punchouts. Earlier this year, Cole set the Yanks’ Opening Day record for strikeouts when he got 11 Giants out on strikes back on March 30.
This season, Cole has pitched like an early Cy Young candidate. In his first 10 starts, Cole is 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.085 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 62.6 innings pitched.