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Gerrit Cole O/U 6.5 Strikeouts vs. Red Sox
Gerrit Cole had been hit hard in September, but it is time to flip the script and not just the calendar -- it is October baseball.
Cole has been tough to nail down as he has constantly been stuck on six or seven strikeouts in most of his starts this season.
The Yankees' ace has recorded at least six strikeouts in 26 of his 30 starts this year (86.6%). Even with tough times in the rearview mirror, seven is possible.
With that being said, yes, I am playing the Over. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why I like the Over despite his rough September, here are some trends.
NBC's player prop model shows Cole has recorded seven strikeouts in 20 out of his 30 starts (66.7%) and 11 of 16 on the road (68.7%).
In Cole's 13 career playoff starts, he has gone at least 5.0 innings in every single start (all 13) and 5.1 innings-plus in 10 straight -- 11 of 13 at 5.1-plus overall (84.6%).
When he pitches 5.1 innings or more in 2021, Cole has a 70% hit rate to the Over (16/23) per NBC's player prop model (graph below).
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As I said, Cole goes 5.0 or innings every time in the postseason, so what about Ks?
Looking at Cole's last 10 playoff starts, he has eight games of seven or more strikeouts. He also did eight-plus Ks in all three postseason games with New York in 2020, per statmuse.
He faced the Red Sox four times this season and three at Fenway, where tonight's primetime game will be played.
At Fenway in 2021, Cole is 1-2 in three starts with a 6.19 ERA on 11 earned runs in 16.0 innings (20 strikeouts). Trust me, I know how it looks -- I watched all three.
Cole had six, six and eight strikeouts in those three games with an OBA of .302. If they do not hit to that standard in the first two innings, I am afraid for Boston that Cole can and will take over versus hitters like Kyle Schwarber, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez.
Martinez is out for this game, which means we could see an outfield of Schwarber, Renfroe and Verdugo. I like that group to each record a strikeout. Enrique Hernandez is also a possibility at outfield although he could get the nod at 2B.
Against Cole, 11 of the 13 Boston hitters who have faced him own a 25% or higher K%, per baseballsavant.com.
There are seven players with 20-plus plate appearances, and six have a 25% or higher K% -- Jose Iglesias is the only without in that bunch.
I have watched Cole all season, bet on him repeatedly, won gloriously and lost miserably this year, so I understand if you have bad taste in your mouth, but facts are facts about October Cole.
Last season with the Yankees, Cole went 18.1 innings in three starts with 30 strikeouts to four walks for a 2.95 ERA (six earned runs). Cole allowed six hits each to the Indians and Rays on five combined earned runs yet lasted 6.0 and 7.0 innings for eight and 13 strikeouts.
With Houston, Cole had five starts in 2019, with 36.2 innings and 47 strikeouts to 11 walks. He owned a .172 ERA and permitted at least three this in four of five contests, so much like what we're seeing now.
Cole had a 0.51 ERA in August of this season post his COVID return. He had 24 strikeouts to four walks in 17.2 innings (three starts) before moving into September and facing tough offenses. He looked amazing in his first four starts back from the IL before the Blue Jays held him to two Ks.
He went through Toronto twice (2, 6 Ks), Boston on the road (6 Ks), Cleveland at home (7 Ks), plus the Los Angeles Angeles (15 Ks) and Baltimore Orioles (7 Ks) away from Yankee Stadium.
Cole was on the road in four out of his six games last month. His two home contests were against the Blue Jays and Indians, the two toughest teams to sit down out of those six. He has been a road warrior this past month and that could have very well prepared him for this Wild Card game.
Bottom line. October is here. If Cole is constantly getting six to seven strikeouts, he can get seven in a win or go home game against the Yankees bitter rival to the end. I will end it on this.
Cole grew up a Yankees fan as a kid.
Is this not THE moment you would dream of as a kid when it comes to beating the Red Sox?
Pick: Gerrit Cole Over 6.5 Strikeouts (1u)
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