Yankees try to turn page with Gerrit Cole on mound in do-or-die Game 4 – The Denver Post


Maybe this isn’t the exact moment the Yankees envisioned when they signed Gerrit Cole to be their ace nearly three winters ago, but it’s close. Anything less than a World Series is considered a disappointment for the Yankees and the club signed Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract to help them win World Series championships.

But the Yankees have to get to the World Series first and in order to do that they need a win in Game 4 of the ALDS on Sunday night.

Cole will be on the mound at Progressive Field to try and extend the series against the Cleveland Guardians one night after a gutting loss. The Yankees blew a 5-3 lead in Game 3 and Cleveland walked it off to take a 2-1 series lead. They need just one more to advance to the ALCS where the Houston Astros are waiting for the winner of this series.

Cole received the win in Game 1 allowing just one earned run in 6.1 innings and he’ll now try and repeat the feat to get the series back to New York. With the off day and the rain day he’s on full rest.

“Familiarity, probably,” Cole said Saturday when asked about the challenges of facing the same team twice in one series. “Familiarity and then, you know, if you run into somebody that’s hot, usually that spans the course of the series.”

Cole might have grown up across the country in sunny Southern California but it wasn’t the Los Angeles Dodgers or the hometown Angels that did it for him. He was a Yankee fan in Orange County and he always seemed destined to wear pinstripes. Cole now relishes the chilly October games because of what they represent.

But the pinstripes can be heavy and no one is immune to the scrutiny of playing in the New York market. Even Aaron Judge was booed at Yankee Stadium in Game 2.

The players that are the most revered are the ones who won in the postseason. Cole did not win in the postseason last year, lasting only two innings in the Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox. Fans questioned his ace credentials, which was a silly thing to do given his body of work. The veteran is 9-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 15 postseason starts. Those are some pretty strong bonafides.

But Cole made good on that contract in Game 1 and he has a chance to do so again in Game 4. The Yankees have to find a way to turn the page on the disappointment and it starts with Cole. He’ll be facing a hostile crowd and a lineup that will make him work for every out, but he’s the exact player the Yankees want on the hill in a do-or-die game like this.

“Just try to be indifferent to the environment regardless of where you’re at, really,” Cole said. “Prepare yourself for cheering at certain times when you’re at home and certain times when you’re on the road. And the main goal is always to cut through the noise and find your focus.”



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