Can you think all the way back to the halcyon times of last weekk? That’s when the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes broke the MLB record for most strikeouts without a walk. He had racked up 58 K’s by the time he issued a free pass on May 13 versus the Cardinals.
Four days later, that record has a new owner. Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole struck out the side in the first inning of Monday’s game versus the Rangers. That third out represented his 59th strikeout since his most recent walk. And considering how he reacted with a little pause after that K, I think he was aware of the record.
Here's Gerrit Cole's record-setting 59th STRAIGHT strikeout since his last walk (which came on April 12, by the way).— Jason Catania (@JayCat11) May 18, 2021
He needed three Ks to break Corbin Burnes' record - and did it in the 1st inning tonight. pic.twitter.com/FQ37WgOont
Cole recorded two more strikeouts before issuing a walk to Joey Gallo in the third inning, so the new record is 61 strikeouts without a walk. That number seems to carry some significance for the Yankees.
But Cole’s feat buries the actual lede from last night’s game: he got hit hard by the Rangers, who defeated the Yankees 5-2. Cole allowed season-highs in runs (five) and hits (seven). Eleven of the 14 batted balls against him were classified as hard-hit balls (95+ mph exit velocity). His five-inning start was his shortest of the year. He also handed out another walk in the fifth inning, ending his latest strikeout streak at two. Not quite as impressive.
Cole will try to bounce back and begin a new strikeout streak in his next start, which is scheduled to come at Yankee Stadium this weekend versus the White Sox.