Monday night was a rare off-night for New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. The Texas Rangers tagged Cole for five runs (four earned) in five innings in their four-game series opener against the Yankees (GameTracker). Adolis Garcia went deep and Cole set new season highs in runs (five), earned runs (four), and hits (seven) allowed.
Despite the off-night, Cole did set an MLB record. When he struck out Joey Gallo for his third strikeout of the night, it was Cole's 59th strikeout since his last walk. That is the most strikeouts between walks in baseball history.
The previous record was not longstanding. Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes struck out 58 batters without issuing a walk to begin this season before walking a batter in his start last week. Burnes holds the record for most strikeouts without a walk to begin a season. Cole holds the record for most strikeouts without a walk at any point in the season.
Cole extended his record to 61 consecutive strikeouts before walking Gallo in the third inning. It was his first walk since April 12, his third start of the season. Here are the longest streaks of consecutive strikeouts without a walk in baseball history:
- Gerrit Cole, 2021 Yankees: 61
- Corbin Burnes, 2021 Brewers: 58
- Curt Schilling, 2002 Diamondbacks: 56
- Greg Maddux, 2001 Braves: 51
Of course, strikeout records are being broken all the time these days. Major-league hitters were striking out in 24 percent of their plate appearances this season coming into Monday, a pace that would set a new strikeout rate record for the 14th consecutive season.
Cole, 30, is in the second year of his pitcher record nine-year, $324 million contract. Even with Monday's clunker, he owns a 1.87 ERA with an incredible 85 strikeouts and five walks in 57 2/3 innings this season.