By Lenn Robbins
It’s been hard to see the light lately, hasn’t it? We can’t eat inside a restaurant. We may never go back to shaking hands. Who knows when we’ll be allowed back into a stadium or an arena.
But here’s the thing about the beautiful marriage between television and sports: We can still watch the greatest athletes in the world. And currently we’re getting a front-row seat to witnessing one of the greatest of all time.
Gerrit Cole is putting himself in the company of LeBron James or Tom Brady or Alexander Ovechkin.
In leading the Yankees to a 10-3 win Friday night over the pathetic Boston Red Sox, Cole posted his 20th straight regular-season win. Take a moment to think about that – 20 straight regular season wins. Twenty. 20.
“Best pitcher in the game and that’s what you’re seeing,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Cole struck out eight, walked none, allowed one run on four hits and needed just 95 pitches through seven innings to stifle the Sox. This was Cole’s first time pitching in the best rivalry in baseball and he laid down a gauntlet – you can’t hit me.
“Obviously a great pitcher makes you chase a lot more,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. “Every time I looked up at a strikeout it was on a corner somewhere and it was great stuff. Whether it’s 97 fastball or a great slider or a curveball, it’s a great pitch.”
With his 20th straight win Cole joins some heady company. Carl Hubbell owns the record for consecutive regular season wins with 24 set back in 1936-37. Roy Face won 22 straight followed by Roger Clemens and Jake Arrieta.
Of course, the Yankees didn’t sign Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal to win regular season games. They broke the bank for Cole to win World Series games. Cole’s last loss since May of 2019 came in last year’s World Series opener when the Nationals took down the Houston Astros.
If Cole is going to join the ranks of the greatest of all time, he needs to win a championship or two. And in New York, no less.
Before we get to the tantalizing thoughts about watching Cole pitching in the World Series for the team he rooted for as a kid in Southern California, let’s savor what we’re seeing now. Cole has an ERA of 1.94 during this streak. He’s 4-0 with the Yankees with a 2.76 ERA.
“You’re seeing a guy that’s great at his craft with elite stuff and the ability to command it,” said Boone.
It’s worth watching.
NOTES: The Yankees placed Aaron Judge on the injured list before yesterday’s game with a strained right calf. “I think it’s really important that he not go out there and hurt this thing significantly trying to play through something,” Boone said. “Hopefully it should be a pretty short stint on the IL.”