In 2020, Cole faced the Rays three times, going 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA in those starts. In his career against Tampa Bay, the Yankees ace has yet to win an appearance, pitching to an 0-3 record to go along with a 4.07 ERA in seven starts.
Diving further into the matchup, Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi has owned Cole over the course of his career. Choi is 8-for-12 against the right-hander, with six XBH, three home runs, and eight RBI. Despite a mediocre career average of just .245, Choi has been a continual thorn in the side of both Cole and the Yankees.
But this is October, and Cole’s regular season numbers, both in 2020 and his career, can be tossed aside. In 2019, Cole and the Astros squared off with these Rays in the ALDS, ousting them from the playoffs. There, Cole went 2-0, boasting an immaculate 0.57 ERA to go alongside a whopping 25 SO, 15 of which came in one outing.
In what I fully expect to be a hard-fought five game series, winning Game 1 is of the utmost importance. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has the chance to prove his worth with a brilliant performance against New York’s bitter rival.