Gerrit Cole is expected to receive the Opening Day start for the New York Yankees when the regular season begins in three weeks' time. While there's no sense fretting over spring training results -- for anyone, let alone an established ace -- Cole has to hope that his outing on March 26 goes much, much smoother than the one he had on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers.
Cole threw two innings against the Tigers and allowed six runs on six hits and a walk. He gave up four home runs as part of a pair of back-to-back sequences against -- and here's the dangdest part -- the same two Tigers hitters. Yes, Travis Demeritte and Miguel Cabrera took Cole deep on consecutive at-bats in the first and second innings of the exhibition contest.
Take a look at a few of those glorious dingers, if you're so inclined:
Now, again, none of this matters much. It's March 5, for Pete's sake. On top of that, Cole has proven he knows where he needs to be for the start of the regular season, and knows how to get there. His post-game comments indicate as much, as he said he was working on sequences and would've had taken a different approach were this the regular season, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
Even so, you have to appreciate how baseball is a game designed to subvert expectations. You would think that Cole would breeze through his start against the team who had the worst record in the game in 2019. Instead, he allows the same hitters to go yicketty in consecutive innings. The effect is cheapened because these games are glorified scrimmages, but it's still a little fun.
Cole and the Yankees will kick off their season on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. If history is any indication, there will be a few home runs in that game -- they'll just, likely, be launched by Yankees hitters.