Insane stats from Cole’s record-breaking G2

October 7th, 2019

had a sensational start to his 2019 postseason on Saturday night in Houston -- much like many would’ve expected from a pitcher contending for the 2019 AL Cy Young Award. In many ways, his first 2019 playoff start was simply an extension of his regular season.

Here’s a look at some of the most fascinating facts and figures about Cole’s ALDS Game 2 outing in the Astros' 3-1 win against the Rays.

• Cole induced 33 swings and misses in the game, the most by any pitcher in a postseason game in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). The record had previously been held by the Giants' Tim Lincecum, who induced 31 in NLDS Game 1 against the Braves in 2010. In fact, only two pitchers have had more swinging strikes in a game in that span, even including the regular season -- Danny Duffy and Clayton Kershaw each had an outing with 35 each.

• Cole set an Astros postseason record with 15 strikeouts in his outing. The prior record had been 14 strikeouts, by Mike Scott in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS.

• This is nothing new for Cole, who struck out 12 batters in ALDS Game 2 last year for the Astros against the Indians. He’s just the fourth pitcher in Major League history with multiple 12-K games in the postseason. The others? Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer and Bob Gibson. But it’s worth noting -- Justin Verlander has one 12-K game in his postseason career, so he could join this list at any point, perhaps this postseason.

• Of Cole’s 15 strikeouts, 14 of them were swinging. That’s the most swinging strikeouts by any pitcher in a postseason game in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). The prior record belonged to Jacob deGrom, who had 13 swinging strikeouts in 2015 NLDS Game 1 against the Dodgers.

• Cole’s 15 strikeouts were tied for the third-most by a pitcher in a postseason start. The only pitchers with more strikeouts in a postseason game were the Cardinals' Bob Gibson, with 17 in 1968 World Series Game 1, and Kevin Brown with 16 in 1998 NLDS Game 1 for the Padres against, of all teams, the Astros.

• As usual, Cole brought the heat. His strikeout of Ji-Man Choi in the seventh inning was on a 100.0 mph pitch. It’s the second time Cole has struck out a batter on a 100.0+ mph pitch in the postseason, making him one of two starters to do that twice in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008) along with Noah Syndergaard.

• Cole didn’t stop there. He was still touching 99 mph into the eighth inning, becoming just the ninth starting pitcher (since pitching tracking was implemented in ‘08) to touch that level of velocity that late into any game -- postseason or regular season. Verlander leads all pitchers in that category.

• Cole threw a career-high 118 pitches on Saturday, 60 of which were on his four-seam fastball. He averaged 97.9 mph on the offering (topping out at 100.1), which was tied for his third-highest ever for any of his 197 career starts, including the postseason. The others? All in 2019, including a career-best 98.1 on 64 four-seamers in a July 6 win over the Angels.

• Cole extended his MLB record by registering his 10th straight start (including the postseason) with at least 10 strikeouts. The previous record was eight, done twice by Chris Sale (2015 and ‘17) and once by Pedro Martinez (‘99). Sale’s ‘17 streak ended when he struck out six in ALDS Game 1 against the Astros, and Martinez was cut short when he fanned just four in ALDS Game 1 against the Indians -- both were losses.

• Cole walked just one. His 15 strikeouts with just one walk are the second-most strikeouts for any pitcher in a postseason game with one or fewer walks. The only pitcher with more was Gibson, who had 17 strikeouts and one walk in 1968 World Series Game 1