Five days ago the New York Yankees were riding a 13-game winning streak, their longest since Sept. 1961. They followed that up with four straight losses, making them the first team to follow a 13-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak since the 1982 Braves. The Yankees went from one extreme to the next.
Wednesday night against the Angels, the Yankees gave the ball to Gerrit Cole to stop the bleeding, and he did what aces do. Cole dominated his hometown Angels, striking out 15 batters in seven innings of one-run ball. He fanned Shohei Ohtani three times and generated a career high 32 swings and misses. Anaheim's 2-3-4-5 hitters went a combined 1 for 11 for 10 strikeouts against Cole.
The 15 strikeouts are Cole's most as a Yankee (he has two 13-strikeout games in pinstripes, including one in the postseason) and one short of his career high, set with the Astros in 2018. They're also tied for the most in a game this season (Jacob deGrom and Corbin Burnes each have one 15-strikeout game), and they're tied for the fifth most in a single game in Yankees history.
Here is New York's all-time single-game strikeout leaderboard:
June 17, 1978
June 23, 1997
July 30, 1997
May 10, 2015
Sept. 27, 1919
April 22, 1959
Sept. 29, 2017
Sept. 1, 2021
The Yankees also have one 15-strikeout game in the postseason: Roger Clemens did it against the Mariners in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS. Cole's outing Wednesday was a top 10 strikeout game in Yankees history, postseason included. Also, Cole joins Pineda and Tanaka as the only Yankees with 15 strikeouts and zero walks in a game.
Wednesday's game was Cole's fourth since returning from the COVID-19 list last month. He's allowed two runs total with 39 strikeouts and four walks in 24 2/3 innings in those four starts. For the season, Cole now has a 2.73 ERA and an MLB-leading 215 strikeouts in 155 innings. He is firmly in the AL Cy Young mix, if not the favorite with a month to play.
Luke Voit and Aaron Judge supported Cole with a two-run single and a solo home run, respectively. Wednesday's win snapped New York's four-game losing streak (NYY 4, LAA 1) and they sit 2 1/2 games up on the Red Sox for the first wild card spot, and 3 1/2 games up on the A's for a wild card spot in general.