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Yankees Win Rain-Shortened Opening Night Matchup against Nationals

FINAL: Yankees 4 Nationals 1
WP: Gerrit Cole (1-0)
LP: Max Scherzer (0-1)

Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees (1-0) opened up their 2020 regular season with a win over the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals (0-1) by a score of 4-1. The winning pitcher in his debut in pinstripes is Gerrit Cole (1-0). The losing pitcher is Max Scherzer, who looked phenomenal for the most part tonight as well.

Gerrit Cole went a total of five innings in his Yankees debut, giving up just one hit, one earned run and one walk, while striking out five. He threw 75 total pitches (46 strikes) and closed out the game with a 1.80 ERA.

Aaron Boone met with the media following tonight’s game and was asked what his first impression of Cole was. Boone stating, “Really really good; it was really good to see him out there.” Boone stated he felt like Cole improved as the game went on and that he reigned in his adrenaline and control a little bit as the game progressed. Boone also stated that Cole made some really big pitches, especially from behind in the count when it was critical for him. Boone stating that Cole did struggle with the strike zone early, but was fairly efficient with at-bats where he fell behind the count. He said that is what speaks to the quality of Cole’s ability to grind it out when he’s searching for it. He was able to get into a rhythm after the first couple innings and managed to find his way tonight, even though he may not have been at his best early on.

Gerrit Cole also spoke with the media Thursday night, stating he did have nerves out there tonight and that overall he was so excited that it caused him to battle a little adrenaline early and had to hone in on his pitches and control. Cole stated it was around the fourth and fifth innings and really the last batter he faced where he started to string together three to six pitches in a row and felt like he was throwing pitches like he wanted to.

Cole stating that it was different without fans tonight in a real game, but that he still had so much fun.

Cole grew up a Yankees fan, dreaming of one day dawning the pinstripes. Tonight was his official night to do so. He stated that he had a blast and so much fun living his dream.

Gary Sanchez also speaking on Cole’s performance tonight, stating that every time he has the opportunity to catch Cole, it’s impressive as he always attacks hitters and follows the plan set out. Sanchez stating that Cole makes his job easy.

Giancarlo Stanton spoke on Cole’s performance as well, stating that it was what he expected: dominant, pounding the zone, getting crazy swings and misses. Overall, Stanton stating that it was good to see Cole get his first Yankee win.

Aaron Judge spoke on Cole’s excitement tonight stating that even traveling to the ballpark on the train and in the hotel, and in his pregame and mini workout yesterday, you could tell just how excited he was and that he was ready to go. Cole grew up dreaming of playing for the Yankees, and to live his dream and pitch his first opening day against the reigning champs who he pitched against in the World Series, it was huge for Cole and he was ready to go. Judge stating, “It was a special moment that he will never forget, and that none of us will forget either.”

Cole stated that he talked to his wife and newborn son after the game, who were watching the game with Cole’s parents, telling them he couldn’t believe he was going to get a complete, one-hit game in his Yankees debut. He expressed what a fun day it was and how nice it is to be able to celebrate it with his newborn son and wife. Cole also stating that this is now his favorite opening day memory as a fan and as a player.

Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankees on the board early with a 2-run home run in the first inning off of Max Scherzer to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead early.

Boone stated that Stanton’s home run was about as good as you can draw it up starting the game that way and that it was a great tone setter for the Yankees in the first inning. Boone stated that Stanton control’s the strike zone really well and with the power he possesses, that that is a deadly combination. Boone stating that over the past few years, Stanton has matured at the plate and is great at blocking things out and sticking to his plan at the plate.

Giancarlo Stanton met with the media and said it was good to get a beat on Scherzer’s fastball and to be on time for that in the first inning.

Aaron Judge spoke with the media and stated that Stanton’s first inning home run was huge for the team and really set the tone for the whole game. He stated that Stanton has put in the work and the team has prepared for this game for a while, and that it was good to see Stanton go out there his first at bat and give the Yankees a 2-run lead.

After the Nationals gained a run in the bottom of the first off of a home run by Adam Eaton to bring the score to 2-1, Aaron Judge doubled in the third, which scored Tyler wade to increase the Yankees lead to 3-1. Giancarlo then collected his third RBI of the game in the fifth inning with a single to right that scored Gio Urshela to increase the Yankees’ lead to 4-1.

Boone stated that he was really pleased with all the guys’ work the last few weeks and that it was good to see the guys come out and have some really quality at-bats against the Nationals and a quality pitcher like Max Scherzer. Boone stating it was big for the guys to come through clutch, including Giancarlo giving the team insurance with his fifth inning single that scored Urshela, and that Aaron Judge also had a couple really good at bats.

Giancarlo Stanton stating that hitting with runners in scoring position is the most important time of the game and that he was happy to execute in two of his three opportunities with runners in scoring position (Stanton had 3 RBI’s tonight).

Boone was also impressed tonight with Tyler Wade’s ability to run the bases well tonight and that the Yankees had a number of really good things happen and a number of contributions from big guys in the lineup. Boone stated that with Wade’s speed, he can be really affective in the lineup and affect the game in a big way. Boone saying his versatility can be valuable for the Yankees.

When asked what Judge thought it meant to Wade for him to be able to contribute tonight, Judge stated that it was like the Charleston days they had together and that getting on base is one of Wade’s tools. He stated that having Wade in the 9th hole is going to be something special for the Yankees and that it was special for him to be a part of his first opening day today.

Cole also speaking on what he thought of the offense tonight stated that Giancarlo got his swing off and that Judge put two pure swings on the ball, pulling it well. Cole stating that the lineup was communicating well all throughout the game about how they were going to approach at bats. All in all, Cole stating he had a lot of fun tonight.

The game was then delayed due to rain in the top of the sixth inning with runners on first and third for the Yankees, with one out and would later be called a complete game since it was beyond the fifth inning. By rule, since the game had completed five innings, it can be called a complete game and does not have to be made up.

When asked what it was like playing without fans in the stadium, Cole, Stanton, and Judge all stated it was different, but that it’s about locking in and focusing on the game. Stanton stating you have to be ready to go at home, away, with fans, or without, and that once the game gets going, you lock in and don’t worry about the fans.

Judge also stating that pregame ceremonies were odd without fans, but that it was good to have real baseball back and that once the game got rolling, it felt like baseball as usual. Cole also stated that you have to find the adrenaline and focus on the task at hand. You can’t be worried about the environment or the sounds around you, that you have to focus on doing your job.

When asked what this victory means for the team, Judge stated that the big picture is getting a chance to see their offense, everybody healthy, and everybody rolling. Judge stating he was trying to get on base for the big hitters behind him and that watching Stanton hit it out of the ballpark off one of the best pitchers in the game was big for the Yankees.

The Yankees and Nationals will continue their series in Washington on Saturday at 7:15 PM. That game will be broadcast on FOX.

Written By

Alexis Farinacci is a baseball beat writer and social media editor for the Pinstriped Prospects. Follow Alexis on Twitter & Instagram: @alexisfarinacci .

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