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Major League Baseball released a statement last week that they’re now cracking down on substances pitchers use to increase grip, and more importantly, spin rate.
A few days ago, Twins third baseman called out Yankees ace Gerrit Cole for using sticky stuff.
“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor-leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson said to The Athletic. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”
Before these suspensions, Gerrit Cole was arguably as dominant as any pitcher in the game, outside of Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He was wiping out hitters with ease and with historic levels of control. As a matter of fact, he set a record for the most consecutive strikeouts before surrendering a walk (61) earlier this season.
A couple minor leaguers face monster suspensions, and now suddenly Gerrit Cole is getting rocked? As Donaldson put it, that is an incredible coincidence. He didn’t claim to know what’s going on. He’s simply observing the data.
In his last start, Cole gave up five earned runs in five innings of work, which for him, never happens. His last two starts came against the Tigers, who stink, and the Chicago White Sox, whom Cole carved up like a pumpkin on Halloween. Completely dominant with alien-like stuff — until Major League Baseball decided to nix the sticky stuff.
So what do the Yankees do?
Well, Gerrit Cole starts tomorrow night against the Minnesota Twins, and all eyes should be on him. If he dominates, then the Yankees can breathe again. But if Cole goes out there and stinks up the joint? This Yankees front office and fan base should panic.
Here’s some context, per Danny Vietti of CBS Sports, as to how much Gerrit Cole’s spin rate dropped in his previous start:
Gerrit Cole had an avg FB spin rate of 2,436 RPM in his most recent start against the Rays (5 IP, 5 ER, 7 SO).— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) June 7, 2021
That is his lowest avg FB spin rate this season and his lowest in a start since Sept. 21, 2018 (2,405 RPM).
His average CB spin rate was also a season-low (2,763 RM) pic.twitter.com/lO6fdkNMgt
Despite his dominance all season long (2.24 ERA), the Yankees are still a healthy 6.5 games behind last year’s AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the standings. Let the Yankees find out Gerrit Cole is nothing but a product of pine tar — they just may become sellers at the trade deadline.
Gerrit Cole was asked about his involvement with sticky substances, and his response was less than ideal for the Yankees:
What’s clear is that the Yankees PR team should’ve spoken with Cole on how he would attack this question. Rather than getting a straight forward answer, he gave a backwards riddle that made no sense.
The takeaway: He was using substances and he’s looking forward to proving he can pitch without them.