NEW YORK – Among all AL pitchers last season, Gerrit Cole had the 10th best ratio of home runs per nine innings, at 1.229.
Cole was even better in 2018, with the fourth-best ratio (0.854) among AL pitchers.
But in his first season with the Yankees, Cole leads the league with 12 homers yielded in 46 innings. At least one batter has homered against him in all eight starts this year.
And over his last three starts, Cole has surrendered seven home runs in 16.2 innings.
Lately, “whenever I’m over the plate, the hitter’s very certain of what’s coming,’’ said Cole, after the Tampa Bay Rays belted two more homers against him in Monday night’s 5-3 Rays win at Yankee Stadium.
Which leads to the possibility he might be tipping some pitches.
Generally speaking, “I think (pitchers) all pretty much tip every game, one way or another,’’ Cole said. It is the frequency that differs from start to start.
Cole was coming off an Aug. 26 start at Atlanta in which he gave up a season-high three home runs. That night, the Braves had five hits against him in five innings, four of them extra-base hits.
“Haven’t really put my thumb on it, but certainly aware of it and trying to get ahead of it,’’ Cole said of the hard hits and extra-base hits he’s encountered lately.
“The point is, there’s several different factors to the certainty with which guys are getting their swings off in certain counts,’’ he said. “So, I’m looking to address that.’’
Whether it’s knowing what’s coming or selling out for one pitch in a certain count or location, hitters have been making more frequent solid contact against Cole, something which manager Aaron Boone has found “a little surprising.’’
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Yet, the conclusions of both Boone and Cole were that his delivery was not at fault.
“Mechanically, it was as effortless as it’s been so far this year,’’ Cole said of the ease and fluidity of his delivery. But he needed to “command the zone better, command the leverage better.’’
From the manager’s angle, “the stuff’s coming out very easy…it’s just tightening up that elite command that makes him Gerrit Cole, that makes him an ace.’’
Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
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