Gerrit Cole’s spin rate was down once again on Wednesday, roughly 10 percent below average on his fastball – a change he pinned on having trouble gripping the ball on a cold, windy night in Buffalo.
Cole then went off on an impassioned plea to MLB to “please work with us (pitchers)” on the sticky substance situation, but when Aaron Boone joined Carton & Roberts for his weekly spot on Thursday, the Yankees’ skipper backed up Cole’s assertions.
“I felt like stuff-wise he was really good. He settled in after the first few innings and got better and stronger as the game went on,” Boone said. “It was cool and windy as the game started, and got nicer as it went on. He finished strong stuff-wise and turned in a good outing against a really good thing.”
MLB will start enforcing the current rules and cracking down on sticky substances next week, and while Boone understands why Cole is one of the faces of this situation, he thinks it’s going to affect all pitchers.
“I understand because it’s Gerrit Cole, one of the game’s best pitchers, I get the focus on him, but what MLB is now implementing and enforcing, I think it’s going to be an adjustment for the vast majority of pitchers,” Boone said. “It’s incumbent on everyone to be able to make the necessary adjustments, and Gerrit is no different.”
Cole pitched his final two innings to Gary Sanchez, who pinch-hit for Kyle Higashioka (and homered) in the seventh inning, and that was the first time the pair had worked together since Opening Day. With this new enforcement, it could make things even tougher if a catcher – especially the nominal starter – is unfamiliar with a pitcher.
Boone, however, is comfortable with Sanchez behind the plate for Cole, even with their limited work.
“I am comfortable, and if you look back at Opening Day, they worked well together – and last night, with Gary coming into a big spot in the game with Gerrit working his final couple innings, they were great,” Boone said. “I think Higgy and Cole are on a great page together and it’s been great, and it gets Higgy in there, so I’ve started to like that this is the day I can give Gary off, but that’s something that we’ll have to consider as the season unfolds.”
That last line was in response to Evan asking what might happen if Sanchez is on fire late in the season and needs to be in there more regularly, and Boone decided to put the onus for that on the future.
“Hopefully we’re in a position to where we’re having that conversation, because that means not only is Higgy playing well and working well with Gerrit, but Gary is doing what he needs to do on both sides of the ball to get into that conversation,” Boone said.
Listen to Boone’s entire segment on Carton & Roberts below!