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Gerrit Cole Deserves Better Than This Doomed Yankees Offense

Rob Carr. Getty Images.

You're probably going to get upset reading that headline if you're not a Yankees fan. 

"Gerrit Cole deserves better" 

Why on Earth should I feel bad for a guy making $324M over 9 years? Obviously I'm not talking from a life perspective because from that end he's got it better than most. I'm talking about the baseball side of things and how this man deserves to win.  

In 2023 Gerrit Cole has been one of the very few guys on the Yankees roster who has shown up when called upon. He's been spectacular and worth every penny the team pays him. So much so that some fans have feared he'll exercise his opt out at the end of 2024 and seek a new deal (they don't realize if that happens the Yankees will just tack on a 10th year per the contract terms). But think about that for a second. A little while ago when the sticky substance ban went into effect people assumed Cole's days of greatness were over. He became the poster boy to mock whenever he served up a home run. Turns out he's still an elite pitcher as he currently boasts the lowest ERA among qualified starting pitchers in the AL (2.64). Every fifth day he toes the rubber and pitches like the man they're paying him to be. He is very much on his way to winning the AL Cy Young if this keeps up for two more months and it's all going to be for nothing. 

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The problem is that the Yankees offense assembled behind Cole resembles one of a team with a .300 winning percentage. They inexplicably rank 27th in offense throughout the league. 

Last night Cole took the ball in a massive game in Baltimore against the first place O's. He needed to shove to give them a chance and that he did with seven masterful innings of shutout baseball as he stymied this young, full-of-life Orioles offense. Of course on the other side the Yankees offense had nothing to offer at the plate. In fact they didn't score the entire night and it resulted in a walk off loss at the hands of Anthony Santander. It was yet another gut-wrenching loss, one this team has sadly grown accustomed to. Cole did his best afterwards to keep it calm, cool, and collected, but you could see the steam coming out of his ears. He wants to win more than anything, and he's doing everything possible to make that happen. Unfortunately that's not enough with this offense right now. 

For Cole it was the fourth time the Yankees have lost with him on the mound in the last two months where he gave up two runs or less. They just don't score. Judge's return last night just meant another baserunner. The Orioles had no interest in challenging him after his first at bat. The Yankees captain was walked three times as Baltimore decided to deal with anyone else. Right behind Judge were Rizzo and Stanton who combined to go 1 for 8 (0 for 2 w/ RISP). 

That's the thing with Judge's return, other teams aren't going to be dumb. They're not managed by someone like Boone who will challenge a hitter like Ohtani with first base open. They know what Judge is capable of even if he's not at 100%. In his first at bat of the game he lined out to right field on a ball leaving his bat over 100mph. That was more than enough for Brandon Hyde and co. to simply not fuck around and find out. Outside of DJ LeMahieu's two hits, no one in the starting lineup found a knock. Rizzo and Stanton are the main culprits here. Nothing else matters if they don't get going. They will be welcomed to the plate and dared to produce with Judge on first base. If they don't find their form quickly there will be nothing left of this season to salvage in two weeks. 

At this rate Cole's Cy Young season is going to be wasted. Yet another year of that man's prime down the drain because Brian Cashman failed to address any glaring offensive concerns after last season. He went with the ol' "our players will start playing better because they're the players I signed and traded for" mentality. It's called arrogance and it's doomed this franchise. Gerrit Cole deserves better.