Who would’ve thought a matchup in the middle of June featuring the lowly Minnesota Twins and the struggling New York Yankees would become a must watch event? That’s exactly what Wednesday’s matchup has turned into.
There’s plenty of layers to this and it starts with the Twins’ third baseman, Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson recently spoke out about pitcher’s using substances to help them with spin rate and to just execute pitches in general. Donaldson noted he had an entire list of who does what and threatened the idea of releasing the list.
One pitcher he did bring up specifically was Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
Via The Athletic, Donaldson didn’t mince word about the Yankees staff leader.
“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor-leaguers got suspended for 10 games? Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.” – Josh Donaldson.
Gerrit Cole was asked point blank on Tuesday if he’s ever used spider tack, one of the substances MLB is trying to crack down on. To say the Yankees ace responded horribly would be an understatement. It was a disaster of an answer.
Gerrit Cole on if he ever used Spider Tack while pitching:
"I don't quite know how to answer that, to be honest…If MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that's a conversation that we can have" pic.twitter.com/2fR1AUeOQX
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) June 8, 2021
It’s baffling that he didn’t expect that question to come his way. Yet when asked, he seemed caught off guard completely and rambled through without giving a direct yes or no. By doing so, many have assumed, whether correctly or incorrectly, that Cole has.
In response to specifically Donaldson’s claims about Cole using spider tack, the Yankees right hander said:
“In regards to Josh specifically, I kind of thought it was a bit of low-hanging fruit, but he’s entitled to his opinion and to voice his opinion.” – Cole.
This brings us to Wednesday. Normally, seeing a 24-36 team square off against a 32-29 team when they aren’t division rivals wouldn’t raise any eyebrows. But not this matchup, this is a unique one for the Yankees and Twins.
That’s because when the Yankees face off against the Twins tonight, Gerrit Cole will be on the bump. It will be his first start since these press conferences and since these accusations against pitchers has gained more steam. Who will without a doubt be in the Twins lineup? Josh Donaldson.
The intrigue for that one-on-one battle alone is worth it enough to tune in for this one. An added layer is Cole’s command and how he looks. If the Yankees ace was using substances that he shouldn’t have been, he certainly won’t be tonight. Will there be a dip in his spin rate, will he look more sloppy? And if he does, what assumptions will be drawn as a result?
The Yankees – Twins matchup as a whole is very stale, especially with both teams hovering around mediocrity this year. What will be wildly entertaining though is the matchup between Josh Donaldson and Gerrit Cole. The finger pointer against the one having the finger pointed directly at him.
Cole did himself no favors in his presser yesterday with the Yankees media members. He can help himself in a major way if he goes out on Wednesday and shuts down the Twins one after another, including Josh Donaldson.