It was as magical a night as the Yankees could have had, for a team that is going to miss the playoffs.
Toronto needed the win, currently hanging onto one of the Wild Card spots by a half a game. But they could not touch Cole.
“So impressive. That’s just a clinic in pitching,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards about Cole. “I think it embodied his season right there. Just unpredictable. I thought he had a great curve ball tonite. They got some swings off but he’s got such a presence with so many different looks. He mixed in the change up a little. The cutter was a factor. He threw some good sliders and then some good swings they got on fastballs were just a little bit off the barrel or just missed because he’s unpredictable. Just fun to watch him go do that and absolutely put an exclamation point on the Cy Young Award. Pretty cool.”
NY improves to 81-77, guaranteeing a .500 or better season for the 31st year in a row. Toronto falls to 87-70, with a .5 lead on a Wild Card.
1. Cole Locks Down the Cy Young Award
Coming into the game, many felt Gerrit Cole had locked down the Cy Young Award already, with a 14-4 2.75 ERA. But some Yankee fans know there is an anti-NY vote out there, having seen Andy Pettitte ripped off of the Cy Young in 1996 and Derek Jeter ripped off of the MVP in 2006.
Articles like this one were popping up, where a writer for Forbes — Anthony P. Biengino –– said he thought Pablo Lopez, 11-8 3.66, should be the favorite. Other writers like Mike Petriello,, who lists himself as part of the BBWAA and may have a Cy Young vote, were theorizing that if Cole got bombed by Toronto, Kevin Gausman, 12-9 3.16, could slip in.
And so with the chance to really lock down the Cy Young on the line, or get bombed and open up a window for writers to vote someone else in — Cole threw down.
Cole pitched to contact and was economical. There were lots of fly balls to centerfield — including a few PHEW flies that Estevan Florial tracked down — one at the wall in right center (by Bo Bichette leading off the 4th).
Cole’s Knuckle Curve was monster, so he used it a lot.
“The depth on it tonite was outstanding,” Cole told Meredith Marakovitz afterwards. “Ben (Rortvedt) was outstanding. He was just reading swings really really well. Right from the get-go we were one step ahead; we used that to our advantage. And the defense was awesome; there were a lot of balls in play tonite; they were aggressive early in the count. Some nice plays by Florial and the boys up the middle. All of it kind of came together. We were staked the lead so we were able to attack the zone from the 4th inning on.”
He only allowed the 2 hits — both to DH Brandon Belt: a double leading off the 2nd (fly out, ground out, strike out followed) and a 2-out single in the 7th — and didn’t walk a batter.
By pitching the 9 shutout innings, Cole makes it almost impossible for Gray or Bradish to catch him in ERA — as they would need to pitch shutout ball for more than 9 innings in their last respective start to match him.
2. Judge Line-Drive Missile Puts NY Up 2-0
On the other hill was Jose Berrios, who came in with a 11-11 3.58 record.
3. Rortvedt & Giancarlo Have Boone’s Back
Rortvedt is Cole’s personal catcher — so it made sense that Cole would demand Rortvedt to catch him in this final start for the Cy Young. But Wells — a lefty batter — could have been the DH instead of Giancarlo Stanton — a righty batter who was 1-11 lifetime against righty Berrios, with 6 K’s.
But Stanton looked to be heating up the night before too — with a walk and a ripping double his last time up.
And in this game both Rortvedt and Giancarlo had Boone’s back:
Rortvedt ripped a 1-out single to right in the 5th. With 2 outs, the Blue Jays intentionally walked Aaron Judge after Berrios went 3-0 on him. Berrios then pseudo-intentionally walked the red-hot Gleyber Torres to load the bases and get to Stanton.
Stanton RIPPED a double to left to score 2 runs and make it 4-0 NY.
Gleyber Torres was was given the green light at 3rd by the Yankee 3rd base coach, but the ball was retrieved quickly on an errant throw home and Gleyber was thrown out running back to 3rd.
4. Judge BOMB Puts NY Up 6-0
Judge wasn’t done. In the top of the 7th, Oswald Peraza led off with a walk against Trevor Richards, who then struck out the next 2 Yanks but Aaron Judge launched a MOON SHOT to left for a 6-0 NY lead.
It was Judge’s 37th homer of the year, despite missing 1/3 the season (54 games) with the toe injury.
5. Cole Finishes
Cole was at 80 pitches after 7 innings. He pitched a 1-2-3 8th and a 1-2-3 9th for the old ballgame.