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Astros’ Gerrit Cole reacts to his start in Game 3 of the ALCS

Gerrit Cole, Astros

Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole’s run of dominance extended into the postseason after a pair of phenomenal outings against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.

But things were not so easy for Cole during Game 3 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium. New York’s lineup made him work to hit his spots and showed tremendous discipline, earning five free passes through the first five innings and consistently getting base runners against Cole.

Cole escaped multiple jams as well as a fly from Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorious that nearly left the yard in the fifth inning. But he retired the side in the sixth and seventh innings, helping the Astros earn a 2-1 series advantage.

The 29-year-old spoke with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic after the game, giving an honest assessment of his stuff:

“We just had to work it,” he said. “Fastball command wasn’t ideal, especially early. It seemed like it was kind of spotty. I would get off to a good start to an inning, then maybe fall behind a couple of hitters and lose some leverage. I wasn’t able to be free and easy to the spot. I feel like once I got to the fifth inning I started to roll a little bit and we found the location a bit better.”

Despite the early trouble, Cole still posted an excellent line. He scattered four hits across seven innings of work and struck out seven, not once giving up the early lead the Astros gave him when Jose Altuve homered in the top of the first inning.

The league postponed Game 4 of the series on Wednesday, which begs the question: might Cole pitch on short rest if the series reaches a Game 6?