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A Pitch To Caballero Was The Story

Gerrit Cole - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

BRONX, NY — There was more to the Yankees breaking a season tying four-game losing streak to the Mariners Tuesday night in the Bronx, a 3-1 win that included an Anthony Rizzo RBI double and Billy McKinney second inning two-run homer.

This was about a pitch clock and another game played with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and Mariners’ José Caballero in the seventh inning. Yeah, Cole (8-1) was great in allowing one run and four hits with eight strikeouts in 7-⅓ innings. It was his second longest start of the season, allowing two runs or fewer in 13 of his last 16 starts.

And yes, the Yankees needed this win after the Red Sox swept them up at Fenway Park, as manager Aaron Boone said someone had to stop the bleeding.

But this one got interesting in that seventh inning. Caballero (Las Tablas, Panama) the Mariners consistent hitter, singled in the fifth inning off Cole and has reached base safely in 12 of his last 13 games. Stepping out of the box in the first two at bats with a required 8 seconds did not go well with Cole.

Then in that seventh inning, he walked out of the box again after fouling off a pitch. The timeout was allowed, though Cole took exception to the tactics of that at bat.

A sequence that followed, Cole throwing a 97-mile fastball that sailed about 15-feet above Caballero’s head. To say the least, it was interesting and became a game story.

It was all about Caballero stepping out of the box and Cole looking to pick up the pace. A full count fastball got Caballero for the strikeout, Cole gave him a stare and waved his right index finger at the Mariners dugout.

“He didn’t like the way I was manipulating the pitch clock but he just got excited so that’s good,” Caballero said.”The rules are there for all of us, and I just had to be ready at 8 seconds.”

Nevertheless. Caballero was not violating a pitch clock rule. He had every right to step out of the box with 8 seconds on the clock, though umpires have the discretion of calling a violation. Cole, though, likes to pitch at that rapid pace. He threw fastballs, quality sliders, and had command.

Cole kept Julio Rodríguez (Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic) the 2022 Latino Sports American League Rookie MVP, off the bases (0-for-4).

Julio Rodríguez – Getty Images

But that pitch to Caballero and a pitch clock are a highlight reel and talk.

“Their manager (Scott Servais) had some choice words for me coming off the field and he was wagging his finger at me,” Cole said. “So I wagged my finger at him.”

Again, though, Caballero was explaining his point of view in the postgame clubhouse. Cole may have been playing mind games with a pitch that intentionally sailed. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino had a discussion with Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

“Like I always say, the rules are there for all of us and I just had to be ready at eight seconds and that’s what I’m doing.” Caballero said. “That’s my routine. I’m just going to continue doing what I feel good doing, and I hope they get used to it, you know? Like I always say, I’m battling against him and he’s battling against me and he won. He can celebrate.”

Cole said it was the first time an opposing manager waved fingers at him. More importantly, the Yankees got another outstanding outing from their ace pitching into the 8th inning and struck out the last five he faced.

Boone said the pitch to Caballero “raised their (Seattle) antenna.” The Yankees hope their antennas will rise after breaking their recent slide.

Rich Mancuso: senior writer Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso.

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