Cole looks to keep win streak alive facing Rays

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Gerrit Cole’s 20-game winning streak is a rare occurrence, just like the New York Yankees losing a game at Yankee Stadium.

Coming off their first loss at Yankee Stadium of the shortened season, the Yankees will send Cole (4-0, 2.76 ERA) to the mound in the middle game of a three-game series with the surging Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

The Yankees are 10-1 at Yankee Stadium after opening the series with a 6-3 loss Tuesday and getting a short outing from Masahiro Tanaka. An offense limited to homers by Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez kept New York from setting a team record with an 11th straight win to open a season at Yankee Stadium.

Now the Yankees are trying to avoid consecutive home losses for the first time since Aug. 18 and Aug. 30, 2019, against Cleveland and Oakland respectively.

“It’s nice to have Gerrit on the mound,” Voit said. “We know he’s going to go out and dominate like he always does. It will be good to have our ace on the mound and hope we get this back on track.”

Cole enters Wednesday as the sixth pitcher in baseball history to win at least 20 straight decisions and tied with Jake Arrieta (2015-2016) for the third-longest streak. He is four shy of Carl Hubbell’s all-time record set from July 17, 1936, to May 27, 1937.

Cole is 20-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last 27 starts and his unbeaten streak is tied with Firpo Marberry (1930-1931) for the fourth-longest in major league history. He is three shy of the record set by Roger Clemens (1998-1999).

He kept the streak going in Friday’s 10-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. After falling one strike shy of qualifying for a win Aug. 8 against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Cole allowed one run on four hits in seven innings while getting eight strikeouts.

“Best pitcher in the game, and that’s what you’re seeing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “You’re seeing a guy that’s great at his craft with elite stuff and the ability to command it.”

Cole threw 107 pitches in his last start against Tampa Bay and is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five career starts against the Rays.

Cole will be tasked with attempting to tame the red-hot Brandon Lowe. Lowe hit a three-run homer Tuesday and is batting .429 (15-for-35) with six homers and 14 RBIs in a nine-game hitting streak.

“We’re seeing a good approach right now, where he’s doing above and beyond because he’s on every pitch,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Lowe.

The Rays are 9-1 in their last 10 games and are in a rare position heading into Wednesday. They are seeking consecutive road wins over the Yankees for the first time since Aug. 15-16, 2018.

“We’re still behind them. They’re a very, very talented team that’s nicked up right now, but they got a ton of depth and they’re really good,” Cash said. “They’re tough outs one through nine and their pitching staff is tremendous. We’re fortunate that we started this series off with a win.”

The Rays will counter Cole by starting right-hander Tyler Glasnow.

On Aug. 13, Glasnow (0-1, 7.04 ERA) allowed five runs for the first time since Sept. 5, 2018, when he lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing seven runs, five hits and two walks in a 10-3 loss at Toronto.

Glasnow is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees and is making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium. He opposed Cole on Aug. 8 and allowed four runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings, including a two-run homer to Mike Ford and a two-run double to Gio Urshela.

–Field Level Media

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