The Yankees suffered a series-sweeping loss the Red Sox Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston, where a 9-2 final uncharacteristically included six runs (five earned) by New York RHP Gerrit Cole. In five innings, Cole allowed eight hits (three home runs) while striking out six and walking two on 89 pitches (59 strikes).
After the Yankees took a deflating step back to 40-37, with a third straight loss to the Red Sox (47-31) burying New York at fourth place in the AL East and 6 1/2 games back of division-leading Boston, Cole was direct about his outing.
“I think everybody was well aware of the importance of the game,” he said. “It’s a pretty brutal feeling to let the team down like that. So, obviously, wanted to come out and give us a chance to win and wasn’t able to do that today.”
A first-pitch solo shot by Enrique Hernandez in the bottom of the first inning set the tone as Rafael Devers subsequently belted a three-run blast later that frame and put the Yankees down 4-0. Manager Aaron Boone defended Cole’s performance as a blip on the radar when asked if there was any correlation between his ace’s rough start and MLB’s cracking down of illegal foreign substances for pitchers.
“The bottom line is he’s coming off two really good starts and today is going to inflate that and, really, you look at it, it’s one pitch that got him — the three-run homer,” Boone said of Cole (8-4, 2.66 ERA), who yielded four runs on seven hits while striking out 10 and walking four in the Yankees’ games against the Toronto Blue Jays (3-2 win June 16) and Kansas City Royals (6-5 loss June 22).
“It’s going to kind of wreck an outing, especially a guy of his caliber. So he’ll navigate this. Again, I think he settled in fine. But, obviously, a couple of misses — misfires, frankly. When you think of Gerrit Cole, you think of, obviously, tremendous stuff but also outstanding command and missing a couple spots and they were ready to make him pay.”
Regardless, as a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels (37-40) begins Monday at 7:05 p.m. from Yankee Stadium, the Yankees are once again in a downward trend. A three-game set with the NL East-leading Mets (40-33) follows on Friday.
“I’m not really sure — let me think on that for a sec,” Cole said with a long pause when asked about the Yankees’ overall inconsistency. “It’s just I don’t really have a straightforward answer, I mean, because I feel like I can point to a handful of different reasons when we played, after we played really well.
“When we don’t play well, it seems to be something slightly different every time. The common theme is we don’t get the job done. So we’ll put our axe back on the sharpener and continue to try to figure how we bring that consistency out.”