‘A lot of four-letter words’

DETROIT — As Aaron Boone went to the mound to take out Gerrit Cole in the second inning, the Yankees ace pounded his hand into his glove five times.

Asked what was going through his mind at the time, Cole said, “A lot of four-letter words.”

Cole likely wasn’t the only one with those thoughts after his third consecutive subpar outing to start the year, with Tuesday’s being the worst by far.

On a frigid night in Detroit, where the game time temperature was 43 degrees with 19 mph winds, Cole allowed two runs and a career-high five walks in just 1 ²/₃ innings in the Yankees’ 4-2 win at Comerica Park.

After the shortest outing of his career, Cole’s ERA is 6.35.

“I’ve certainly never had anything like that in my career before,” Cole said. “But it’s not something we can’t get through.”

Aaron Boone takes out Gerrit Cole in the second inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Tigers.
PA

So far, the results have not been encouraging for the $324 million ace.

Handed a 3-0 lead when the Yankees scored twice in the first inning and once in the second, Cole struck out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the first before crumbling in the second.

During a lengthy top of the second, Cole took the unusual step of throwing pitches in front of the Yankees dugout while Detroit right-hander Will Vest was warming up on the mound.

Cole allowed a leadoff single to Miguel Cabrera then got Spencer Torkelson on a liner to third. Cole then went to full counts to the seventh, eighth and ninth batters in the order — and walked all three.

“When I needed to make [a pitch], I didn’t make it,” Cole said. “I was trying to be too perfect.”

The third walk of the inning — following a visit from pitching coach Matt Blake — was to Willi Castro and forced in a run to make it 3-1. Robbie Grossman also got to a full count before hitting a sacrifice fly to cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-2. Cole then walked Austin Meadows—again on a full count—to load the bases again, prompting Cole’s early exit from the game.

He threw 46 pitches in the second, finishing the outing with 68.

Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole
PA

Clarke Schmidt came in and got Jonathan Schoop to end the inning.

Afterward, manager Aaron Boone lamented not taking Cole out sooner.

“I probably shouldn’t have left him out there as long as I did, with the weather and number of pitches,” Boone said. “He had two out, and I just wanted him to get through it.”

Despite the early results, Boone still has confidence in the right-hander.

“I really believe he’s poised for a big year for us and will carry us for a long stretch,” Boone said. “It just hasn’t gone his way so far.”

That’s putting it mildly.

He allowed three runs in four innings against Boston on Opening Day and three runs — including two home runs to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — against Toronto in his previous outing before Tuesday’s disaster.

“I get it, the results aren’t there,” Boone said. “And we’re talking about Gerrit Cole. I feel he’s a lot closer to popping than his lines [would indicate].”

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