Yankees ace Gerrit Cole‘s worst start of the 2023 MLB season came at a crushing time as New York suffered an 8-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Four things to know from Saturday’s game
1. When it rains, it pours. Cole has been lights out for the Yankees all year, but the Red Sox pounded him.
After back-to-back singles by Adam Duvall and Jarren Duran, plus a Pablo Reyes walk to load the bases at the start of the second inning, Cole’s bounce back — grounding Connor Wong into a 5-2 force out — was short-lived. Luis Urias launched a first-pitch grand slam into the left-center bullpen and suddenly dug the Yankees into a 4-0 hole.
Following a 1-2-3 third inning, the fourth saw Cole work into similar trouble. Reyes led off the frame with a single before Wong’s two-run homer into first few rows of the short porch in right field put the exclamation point on Boston’s advantage, 6-0.
Cole (10-4, 3.03 ERA) responded, recording the final three outs in order, but not before the Red Sox did damage. He allowed six runs on seven hits (two homers) while striking out four and walking one in a season-low four innings.
2. Even if Cole were better, his offense would not have given him much of a chance. Kutter Crawford held the Yankees hitless until Aaron Judge‘s one-out solo shot — just beyond the outstretched arm of Duran — to left-center field in the sixth inning put New York on the board, 6-1.
Judge’s 24th homer of the season was the only hit allowed by Crawford, (6-6, 3.66 ERA) who fanned five and walked two on 82 pitches (52 strikes) in six innings.
3. The Yankees’ only other hit was a two-out single by Greg Allen in seventh inning. Anthony Volpe proceeded to strikeout swinging and end any semblance of New York’s rally.
4. To paint a picture of how rough things have gotten for the Yankees, a pair of face-palming plays from the game come to mind. The first instance occurred in the second inning, when Isiah Kiner-Falefa — after Giancarlo Stanton‘s leadoff walk — squared to bunt while New York trailed 4-0 and had no outs. Kiner-Falefa’s attempt popped up to Wong in front of the plate and doubled up Stanton, who took off running for second base, at first.
With one out and two on in the seventh inning, Allen’s inability to track a Reyes fly ball down the left-field line while battling the sun turned into a double off Albert Abreu that scored Masataka Yoshida from second base. That appeared to be the final nail in the coffin, but Rafael Devers piled it on by leading off the ninth inning with a solo shot to center field and polished off the Yankees’ 8-1 laugher.
The Yankees (60-63) and Red Sox (65-58) complete their three-game series with Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. start.
New York righty Clarke Schmidt (8-7, 4.76 ERA) is the only probable pitcher currently listed for either team.