Yankees' Aaron Boone Not Worried About Gerrit Cole Amid Early Season Struggles

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 20, 2022

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone takes the ball from pitcher Gerrit Cole against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn't sweating a third straight poor start from ace Gerrit Cole.

Cole exited Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers after just 1.2 innings. He allowed two earned runs and walked five batters on 68 pitches.

Boone said after the game he's "really not" concerned the outing might speak to any larger issues:

YES Network @YESNetwork

Aaron Boone discusses what happened to Gerrit Cole in the 2nd inning and what he's seeing from the right-hander's first three starts of the season. <a href="https://t.co/dkUiuEE2Cn">pic.twitter.com/dkUiuEE2Cn</a>

Cole entered the contest with a 5.59 ERA and a 6.20 FIP. He lasted just four innings on Opening Day and chalked up some of his bad luck for the "unforeseen challenge" of the team's pregame festivities running a little longer than expected.

Speaking after Tuesday's game, the right-hander said he was "still going through the evaluation process a bit" but acknowledged he simply wasn't sharp on the mound.

YES Network @YESNetwork

"Still going through the evaluation process a bit, but just not on the plate enough really. Not able to get leverage and keep leverage." - Gerrit Cole goes over his start vs. Detroit. <a href="https://t.co/2YoktSiXml">pic.twitter.com/2YoktSiXml</a>

He also said the weather—the game-time temperature was 43 degrees—didn't make things easy but that it wasn't something he hasn't experienced before.

One downside to being the No. 1 starter on the Yankees and earning $36 million a year is that a few bad games are going to be scrutinized and extrapolated as part of a wider trend.

Granted, Cole's start is running contrary to what he has done before.

Historically, the 31-year-old has been dominant right out of the gate. He has posted a 2.74 ERA and averaged 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings through 40 career appearances in March and April.

Ryan Morik @RyanMorik

We can say it’s early, but that’s never been a problem for Gerrit Cole. This is officially concerning <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yankees?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Yankees</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RepBX?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RepBX</a> <a href="https://t.co/NsPuJ49hl2">pic.twitter.com/NsPuJ49hl2</a>

Even though he ultimately finished second in the American League Cy Young voting in 2021, this is rehashing the conversation about how Cole was adversely impacted last season by the MLB's crackdown on foreign substances on the mound.

Cole's next turn in the rotation is scheduled for Sunday at home against the Cleveland Guardians.

The discourse around his performance will shift a bit if he looks like one of MLB's best pitchers again. Should he once again flatter to deceive, it might be time to start getting a little concerned.