The New York Yankees Are Nice

And Yankee fan should be fired up.

Jim Rome
April 07, 2021 - 10:38 am
Gerrit Cole

USA Today

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Coming into this MLB season, there has been a lot of focus on the National League. And with good reason. The Dodgers are the defending champs. The Padres have Fernando Tatis Jr and they added two more elite arms. And then received something that sounds like good news yesterday on the shoulder of Tatis.

Then you have all that talent in the NL East. There’s so much going on in the NL it’s pretty easy to forget about the AL.

But yesterday, the Yankees did their best to make sure you pay some attention. They started things off with the acquisition of Rougned Odor from the Rangers. It’s a smart move because it gives the Yankees some left handed pop and some versatility. Oh, and the Rangers are going to pay a fat chunk of his salary.

Not only does he have one of the best names in baseball, he was also at the center of one of the most iconic moments of this century when he drilled Jose Bautista with the greatest punch in baseball history.

And if you think I’m using a relatively minor transaction as an excuse to run that clip, you’re damn right I am. Because that isn’t just the greatest punch in baseball history, that’s one of the greatest punches in the history of punches. There are boxers who go their entire careers without landing a shot to someone’s face as solidly as Odor landed that one.

He has nearly 150 homers from the left side in his career, but I’m more scared of the power in his right.

And yesterday wasn’t just about Odor arriving in New York. Because it was also about the Yankees flexing their muscles on the field as well. Last night they took on Baltimore and they beat the Orioles 7-2. But it wasn’t about the final score, it was about how they got there.

There was Jay Bruce going yard in the 2nd.  

And then there was Aaron Judge doing the same in the 8th.

That was measured at a reported 432 feet, but it felt longer to me. A lot longer.

And in between those bombs, you had Gerrit Cole on the mound doing work. And I mean work. 7 innings, four hits, 13 strikeouts. It was his 11th straight start with at least seven strikeouts. Last night was his 25th game of at least 10 strikeouts since the start of 2019.

The guy in second place has 16. That’s how far apart he is from everyone else when it comes to strikeouts.

And last night was just another night of comical numbers. But truthfully, the numbers don’t even do him justice.

Gerrit Cole on a good day is filthy. Gerrit Cole at his best is unfair. There is a level of nastiness that is just wrong. The Talkin’ Yanks twitter account compiled the highlight reel and it is something else.

You know he has it working when he has his iconic K-strut going. And he had that going a number of times last night.  

The finest version came in the top of the third, an 0-2 pitch, with two outs. Roll it.

I’m not sure what’s better – Cole’s pitch or his reaction. Because the pitch hit triple digits on the gun, but the reaction was priceless. He was walking off the mound before the ump even reacted. Cole was practically halfway to the dugout before the ball even hit the catcher’s glove.

Great shooters know they’ve hit a shot the moment the ball leaves their hand. In this case, Cole knew it was a strike the moment the ball left his hand. Not only did he know it was a strike, he knew there was nothing the batter could do about it.

And it didn’t feel like he was really bearing down on that pitch. Again, that’s triple digits. If someone hit that a few years ago, I would be leading the show with it. And this guy is just casually dropping that in the third inning of a game in April. And didn’t look like he was working very hard to do it. He didn’t crush the ball into sawdust, rear back, and fire some heat. He made it look normal, and natural.

Which he does with a bunch of his pitches. The same guy who can throw triple digits can also drop an 84-mile per hour knuckle curve from the same motion. Good luck with that trying to catch up to or slow down to his pitches. And if you do, he’ll hit you with some high 80s sliders as well.  

The word masterpiece gets thrown around a lot, but that was an actual masterpiece. That was a masterclass in pitching. A free lesson for anyone who wanted it. But the problem is, it’s not a great lesson because pretty much nobody else can do what Gerrit Cole does. And they definitely can’t make it as easy as he looks.

That is a totally different level of mastery. And it is awesome to see. I’m not saying the Yankees are a threat to the Dodgers just yet. Shoot, the AL champs are still in their division.

But when you see Cole bringing the heat like that and Judge crushing balls the way he did and then you add in my guy Odor, I can see why Yankee fans would be fired up. Because I’m not even a Yankee fan and I’m fired up.