After a dramatic end to the regular season in a close race with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees met the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night. Gerrit Cole took the ball for the Yankees looking to improve on his 1-1 record in Wild Card matchups. The scenario of facing a division rival in the Wild Card and pitching to Kyle Schwarber continues to be a test Cole is unable to pass. The four-time All-Star was pulled from the game after recording just six outs.
W: Nathan Eovaldi
Cole allowed three runs on four hits, including two home runs. Xander Bogaerts‘s 1st inning blast opened up the scoring. However, Schwarber’s drive in the 3rd inning was one of the most widely-discussed plays of the game due to its striking similarity to his shot into the Allegheny River in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.
2015: Kyle Schwarber hits a home run in the 3rd inning of the Wild Card Game off of Gerrit Cole to give his team a 3-0 lead
2021: Kyle Schwarber hits a home run in the 3rd inning of the Wild Card Game off of Gerrit Cole to give his team a 3-0 lead pic.twitter.com/Md1Lz9aojJ
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) October 6, 2021
The Yankees’ boom-or-bust lineup was stymied by Eovaldi, who allowed one run on four hits over 5.1 IP. Both New York runs came on solo home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton, who went 3-4. No other Yankee recorded more than one hit, and none of the Bronx Bombers received a base on balls.
While the general rule of thumb in Wild Card Games is for the team’s best pitcher to start, Cole’s 6.19 ERA in three games at Fenway Park in 2021 and past history against Schwarber perhaps should have given Yankees manager Aaron Boone some pause. After four seasons without a league pennant, Boone should face tough questions about his suitability to continue as skipper.
The Red Sox will face the #1 seeded Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series starting on Thursday night at 8:07 PM ET. Shane McClanahan (10-6, 3.43 ERA) has been tapped to start for Tampa, while the Red Sox starting pitcher is TBD.
Featured Image: Oakland, California – August 28, 2021: New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole throws a foul ball over the net into the stands during a game against Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum by Conor P. Fitzgerald / Shutterstock.com.