New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole tied his career-high in walks in the shortest start of his career on Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers. Cole walked five of the 11 batters he faced and he surrendered two runs (both earned) on 68 pitches before being removed with two outs in the second inning.
Cole, 31 years old, faced four batters in the first inning, striking out three of them and walking the other. The second inning did not go as well, with Cole issuing four walks -- including one with the bases loaded -- and allowing a hit and a sacrifice fly before manager Aaron Boone subbed in Clarke Schmidt.
Cole had walked five batters on just one other prior occasion: June 18, 2018 against the Tampa Bay Rays. That performance saw him throw seven innings in a winning effort, however, with 64 percent of his pitches going for strikes. On Tuesday, just 54 percent of his pitches went for strikes against the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Cole had never thrown fewer than two innings during a big-league start. The shortest starts of his career, both consisting of just two frames, came back in 2016 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. One of those short outings, by the way, saw him leave with a triceps injury that required a stint on the injured list.
Cole has not had the ideal start to the new season. He entered Tuesday having started twice, allowing six runs (all earned) in 9 2/3 innings of work against the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Factoring in Tuesday's outing, Cole now has a 6.35 ERA and a 1.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three starts.
Cole is projected to take his next start on Sunday at home against the Cleveland Guardians.