In the end, the Houston Astros proved that David does not always beat Goliath. Never in doubt, Gerrit Cole put his foot down on the gas. Without a doubt, this game was never really close. The Astros gave Cole four runs in the first inning, effectively ending it before it started.
From their starter, Houston got eight innings of two-hit baseball. Cole struck out 10 Rays hitters on the evening, which gives him a startling 26 in two postseason starts.
The video below shows an overpowering Cole throwing 99 miles per hour on his 100th pitch of the game.
Gerrit Cole, 99mph on his 100th Pitch. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/REtsBmICw6
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 11, 2019
In terms of the starting pitcher position in baseball, Cole has taken over as ‘the guy’. He hasn’t lost a start since May 22, a string of 24-consecutive starts. Of course, this is almost unheard of; since baseball is a sport where on any given day, your team just might not have their stuff. Obviously, they come to play when Cole is on the mound.
The dominating right-hander talked about being in the zone against the Rays.
“I was feeling good,” Cole said. “I wasn’t thinking about going the distance. I was pretty locked in. It was one pitch at a time.”
Obviously, immense credit should be given to the Tampa Rays and what they accomplished this year. Heavily counted out by pundits and the general public alike, they pushed Houston to the limit. The fact that Cole had to start two games was a surprise to many.
“We were tested and responded well,” Cole said. “Had to get hit in the face twice. I like the way we answered the bell. Looking forward to the next series.”
While Cole and the Astros might be looking forward to the Yankees, he was used hard to get past Tampa. For instance, had the Astros wrapped this up a game earlier, he would have been able to start the first game of the ALCS against the powerful Yankees.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 11, 2019
Houston is one of the better teams I’ve seen in watching baseball the past several decades. Despite a lineup that can bludgeon the opponent, Cole is the headliner of that team right now. Fellow teammate Justin Verlander signed a record AAV contract of $33 million per year recently. Clearly when Cole hits the open free agency market this offseason, he’s going to shatter this record with the run he’s had to close 2019.
Finally, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley hit back-to-back home runs at the plate. Altuve set MLB history, passing Chase Utley on the all-time list for postseason home runs by a second baseman. Now, Altuve has 11; and reached it in just 37 games.