In the midst of an impressive start to the season, New York Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole has not been at his best of late.
He hopes to reverse that trend on Saturday in Los Angeles against the heavy-hitting Dodgers.
Cole (6-0, 2.93 ERA) has not lost a game this season in 12 starts, but his ERA has gained nearly a full point over his past two outings when he gave up five earned runs against both the Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres. However, Cole received 16 runs of support from his offense in those two appearances as New York won both games.
He has served up eight home runs in his past five starts after not giving up any over his first seven outings.
The Yankees are 10-2 in Cole's starts this season, and the five-time All-Star has still managed to allow two runs or less in nine of his 12 outings.
"Gerrit, he's been carrying us for quite a few years, and especially early on in the year when the offense really wasn't clicking the way we should," Yankees teammate Aaron Judge said. "He went out there every five days and was dominating.
"There's going to be games like (Sunday against the Padres) throughout the season where he doesn't have his stuff and gives up a couple of runs, but that's where our offense (has to) help him out and pick him up."
A Newport Beach, Calif., native and UCLA alum, Cole will be making his fifth career start at Dodger Stadium, but his first since 2018. He is 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA in Los Angeles.
Cole is 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers in seven starts, but he has not faced them in his four seasons with the Yankees.
Rookie Michael Grove is expected to return from the injured list to start for the Dodgers on Saturday. Grove (0-1, 8.44 ERA) has been out since April 21 with a strained right groin.
The 26-year-old right-hander has made four starts this year, including only one real clunker, when he gave up nine runs on 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 9.
It will be just the 11th career start for Grove and first against the Yankees. Grove's outing comes a day after his teammate, Clayton Kershaw, matched a season high with nine strikeouts while earning the win.
Grove will face a Yankees lineup that received an influx of talent Friday when Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton came off the injured list following hamstring issues. They had combined for just 18 games earlier this season.
Both looked as if they never missed a day, with Donaldson hitting two home runs and Stanton also going deep. Stanton's long ball was his 10th in 24 career games at Dodger Stadium. He also hit one in last year's All-Star Game at Los Angeles.
However, the Dodgers still managed to steal the show on offense as Mookie Betts hit two home runs, including one in a six-run first inning that featured a long ball from Max Muncy. J.D. Martinez added a homer among his two hits to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.
Betts has four homers in his past two games, and while he is hesitant to admit it, he is feeling as good as he has all season.
"I don't want to say too much, but I hope so, I really do hope so," Betts said on the SportsNet LA broadcast after a four-hit night on Friday. "I feel like if I can get going, we can get more games ahead in first (place) and get more cushion. It's always fun to play better as well."
--Field Level Media