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Yankees’ Gerrit Cole to clean up ‘bitter taste’ against Red Sox


The last time the Yankees and Gerrit Cole faced the Red Sox, the stakes were high.

After a late push to end the regular season, the Yankees headed into the playoffs and had to travel to Fenway Park to play wild cards.

The result was a Cole the Yankees would love to forget, as the ace, struggling with a hamstring injury, was knocked down by the Red Sox and lasted just two innings as the Yankees’ season waned. ended unceremoniously with a 6-2 defeat.

On Friday, after a lockout that pushed back the start of the regular season by a week, the two rivals will face off on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, with Cole and former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi again on the mound.

Asked how long it took him to recover from last season’s loss, Cole said Thursday at Yankee Stadium, “I don’t have a specific number of days, it’s not like I was counting. But for a bit.

Gerrit Cole returns to the dugout after being taken out of the Yankees’ 2021 loss to the Red Sox.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

He continued, “It’s a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s just a frustrating game. In this sport, you have to take the good with the bad. As a competitor, when you lose, it eats at you. I think there’s a part of me that still bears the scars we get when we fail at what we’re trying to accomplish. At the same time, if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.

It remains to be seen how strong the Yankees are, after an extremely turbulent season which saw them having to wait until the last innings of the last game to enter the playoffs, when Aaron Judge’s RBI single beat the Rays and got the Yankees to the wild card.

They would like the season to be less dramatic this year, with manager Aaron Boone acknowledging they investigated why they were so streaky a year ago.

A good start would do them good, though Cole knows he’s ready for another battle.

“A pretty formidable opponent,” Cole said of the Red Sox. “I just see it as two deer locked in the forest. Someone is going to break a wood once in a while and no one is going to back down.

Imaging aside, the Yankees face two key tests to start the year.

The original schedule had them in Texas and Houston to open the season, but now it’s Boston in the Bronx, followed by the Blue Jays, as the Yankees get a quick taste of their competition in what could be a tough AL East .

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole to clean up ‘bitter taste’ against Red Sox
Gerrit Cole speaks to the media Thursday before his opening day start.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“[We’re] jump right into the deep end, no doubt,” Boone said. “Two outstanding teams [and] teams that we’ll be up against a lot this year that have similar things in mind. We would like to get a good start and a good homestand. Win or lose, we are in a business where we prepare to go every day and no matter what comes our way, we are equipped to deal with it. We are excited to face the best right away. It’s something that I feel this group, in particular, appreciates.

Cole is part of this group ready for the challenge.

“If that is indeed true, there’s no better barometer of how well you’re playing than when you’re up against the best competition,” Cole said. “In that sense, there will be a lot of truth about what we need to do better or not as the season progresses. Generally, the players are always up for a challenge. The first seven games are the first seven games, whether it’s either in the division or not. It doesn’t change our goal. We want to go out and play well.

And maybe they can start to put last year’s disappointing end behind them.

It was a different spring for Cole – and everyone else – due to the shortened post-lockdown camp.

A year ago, he threw 97 pitches on opening day against the Blue Jays. This spring, he only made a pair of starts and numbers in the grapefruit league to fall between 75 and 80.

He said Thursday he wouldn’t attack the game any differently than he normally does, he would just throw fewer pitches.

New York Post

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