New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole Must Shut Down Tampa Bay Rays

With the 2020 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays set to begin on Monday, it’s worth saying that Gerrit Cole has to be on his ‘A’ game in Game 1.

The Yankees lost to Tampa eight out of 10 games this season.

The Rays are fortunate to have a good balance of pitching and hitting. They also get contributions from a variety of players not just their best players.

For example, Hunter Renfroe launched a grand slam versus Toronto in the second and final game of their wild-card showdown.

Tyler Glasnow tossed six innings, struck out eight, and allowed two runs on six hits against the Blue Jays.

The Yankees need Cole to shut down the Rays in Game 1 of the ALCS in order to start off on the right foot in this series.

Gerrit Cole did well against Tampa in mid-August as he allowed two runs in 6.2 innings and struck out 10 Rays.

However, the Yanks still lost due to Zack Britton surrendering two runs late.

The bottom line is that the Rays have a lot going well for them this season and it seems like nothing can go wrong.

Therefore, since they have owned New York this season the Yanks will need Cole to make a statement and set the tone in the first game of this series. No questions asked.

Proceed With Caution

If it becomes a bullpen game or the Yankees rely on Masahiro Tanaka then things will probably get out of hand quickly.

I understand the Yankees have one of the best teams in baseball, but Tampa is

In seven of their eight wins versus the Yanks this year, the Rays pitching held them to three runs or less.

That creates even more pressure for Gerrit Cole to close the door early and often against this Tampa Bay lineup.

Whether it’s scoring runs early or late in games, the Rays have shown they will battle all the way to the end of games.

In the last game between Tampa and New York, the Rays bullpen held the Yankees scoreless for six innings as they allowed only two hits.

It won’t be easy for the Rays to score early against Gerrit Cole. They’ll need to work his pitch count in order to get him to leave the game early.

In his last start versus Cleveland, Cole had 13 Ks in seven innings of work as he allowed two runs on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter.

Postseason Power

Cole has a 7-4 playoff record with an ERA of 2.60.

In last year’s World Series versus Washington, Cole gave up five runs in the first five frames of Game 1.

The Nationals got timely hits from Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman. Both had homers and two-out RBIs.

If Gerrit Cole wants to set the tone in this series versus the Rays, he is going to have to keep their hitters off the base paths and mix his pitches well.

If he can do that then I like the Yankees chances to capture Game 1 and put themselves in a better position to win this ALDS matchup with Tampa Bay.

Will Gerrit Cole dominate Game 1 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays? Leave a comment below.

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Anthony Fiuza
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