It’s fair to assume that Gerrit Cole had the Opening Day matchup against the Nationals circled on his calendar, for a few reasons.
First off, it was the last game he’s been a part of since the crushing 2019 World Series Game 7 loss, to, you guessed it — the Nationals. Then-manager AJ Hinch refused to bring him in the game as relief, with a lead no less, and it really cost the team. And Cole, understandably, was not happy about it, as he departed Houston for New York in free agency a short time later.
Not only that, it was Cole’s first game with the Yankees, coming off a massive $324 million contract he signed. There was a lot of pressure on him to perform, as the fan base sets the bar high, with the media having high standards as well.
And yeah, Cole delivered in a big way.
He gave up only one hit in five innings of work, up until the game was called due to a combination of rain and lightning. Cole did get the win, and he put his performance in perspective with a funny joke.
That’s one way to get off to a great start with your new team: dominate on the mound, and show some personality afterwards. Well done, sir.