New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners

Gerrit Cole gets fiery with Mariners over between-pitch antics

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole had a message for Jose Caballero and the Seattle Mariners: take your antics back to the dugout with this strikeout.

New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole sparkled in 7.1 innings in the opening game of the series against the Seattle Mariners. Cole gave up just four hits and one run, hurling 105 pitches in a 3-1 victory for the Yankees. A strong performance from their number-one starter was just what the Yankees needed to snap a four-game losing streak.

A highlight of Cole’s performance was a strikeout that ended the 7th inning. Mariners second baseman Jose Caballero stepped up to the plate with two outs in the 7th. Caballero walked away from the box after a called strike that was out of the strike zone, much to Cole’s visible annoyance. After hitting a foul ball, Caballero flipped his bat, caught it, and twirled it. Caballero took his time getting in and out of the box, particularly after using his timeout.

Michael Kay noted on the YES broadcast that Caballero plays games when getting into the box. Some hitters like to use the pitch clock to their advantage in hopes of rattling a pitcher. The hitter has to be in the box with eight seconds left on the clock. Caballero’s antics were within the rules, but he knows how to push a pitcher’s buttons.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole sent a message to the Seattle Mariners

Caballero’s between-pitch antics at the plate were not appreciated by the Yankees ace. Knowing Caballero’s movements were meant to distract him, Cole decided to make a point. He air-mailed a fastball way over Caballero’s head, letting him know that two could play that game.

On the next pitch, a 98-mph fastball, Caballero struck out swinging. Cole was pumped up from the strikeout. As he walked off the mound and headed for the Yankees’ dugout, Cole gave Caballero a long stare and then wagged his finger in the direction of the Mariners’ dugout.

After the game, Cole was asked about the Caballero at-bat and his actions following the strikeout. The finger-wagging was in response to Mariners manager Scott Servais. In his post-game interview, Cole revealed, “Their manager had some choice words for me coming off the field and he was wagging his finger at me, so I wagged my finger at him.” He noted it was the first time an opposing manager wagged a finger at him.

Cole exited the game with one out in the eighth. He gave the Yankees a gutsy performance to right the ship after they were swept by the Boston Red Sox over the weekend. Cole is 8-1 in 16 starts this season with a 2.64 ERA.

Don’t mess with the Yankees ace. Message delivered.

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