The Yankees got to experience Cole pitching on a big stage in the 2020 postseason, but the team’s title run fell short.
In 2021, New York is hoping for a different outcome.
And fittingly, if the team wants its 2021 season to end with a World Series title, it’s going to have to start with Cole.
The fate of the team’s season is in the hands of the four-time All-Star, as Cole will get the ball for the Yankees in a do-or-die Wild Card Game to open the postseason.
I have faith in Gerrit Cole tonight
— NYYGirl (@jdun1031) October 5, 2021
Will the veteran rise to the occasion and pitch New York to an ALDS berth?
Historically, Cole Is A Great Playoff Performer
Cole has a lot of playoff experience under his belt.
Over his nine MLB seasons, he has appeared in five different postseasons (2013, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020).
In total, he has made 13 playoff outings.
The results have been great.
He has a career 2.68 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and .568 opponent OPS in the postseason.
As mentioned earlier, he pitched for the Yankees in the 2020 playoffs.
He was outstanding.
He made three starts, and he was lights-out in all of them.
In total, he pitched to a 2.95 ERA in those three outings.
Some superstars have a hard time delivering results on big stages, but it’s clear that Cole isn’t one of those people.
He Needs To Put His Last Few Regular-Season Starts Behind Him
Although Cole had a great 2021 regular season on the whole, he had a rocky finish.
Over his final three starts, he got roughed up to the tune of a 7.64 ERA.
Take a look at his totals over those three outings: 17.2 IP, 24 H, 15 R, 4 BB, 19 K, 5 HR.
Gerrit Cole has a 7.64 ERA over his last three starts.
(📷 Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) pic.twitter.com/isqQteeosf
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) October 5, 2021
That wasn’t the Cole we saw for the majority of the regular season.
Up until those ugly outings to finish the year, he had a 2.75 ERA and 2.64 FIP.
As a result of the poor three-game stretch, he finished the regular season with a 3.23 ERA and 2.92 FIP.
With the Wild Card Game upon us, the 31-year-old can’t focus on the way his regular season ended.
He needs to shift his energy to the task at hand, which is to pitch the Yankees to a victory in a win-or-go-home matchup.
The Verdict: Wait And See
Based on Cole’s postseason track record, he’s seemingly capable of single-handedly getting the Yankees a win tonight.
But we can’t ignore the way his regular season ended.
Were those poor outings a sign of fatigue?
And if so, will that issue present itself again in tonight’s game?
Or maybe not.
Maybe Cole just didn’t have his best stuff on those nights.
That’s a very real possibility.
One thing is for sure: The former first-round pick is going to do everything in his power to get his team a win tonight.
The Yankees are searching for their first World Series title since 2009, and Cole is certainly going to empty the tank as the team attempts to capture it.