Yankees’ Gerrit Cole has predictable meltdown after close call, Verdugo HR

Don’t ask a woman her age, a man his salary, or Yankees “ace” Gerrit Cole how on earth he’s supposed to deal with the most minor possible inconvenience.

Yankee fans tuned into Friday’s action two innings later after asking their nieces for their Apple ID to see if Aaron Judge might be able to hit home run Nos. 61 and 62. Secondarily, they were also curious about whether Cole could shake off his recent jitters against the Red Sox and hold his own, now that he was a safe distance away from the Fenway Park gauntlet.

Well … almost! Which counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and doesn’t count in “guessing your Apple ID before you get locked out”.

After being gifted a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cole allowed a one-out double to Kiké Hernández and walked Rafael Devers. After a strikeout of Tommy Pham, he got two strikes on fastball-crushing Alex Verdugo.

And he almost got a third strike, too, before the pesky umpire Brian Knight got in the way.

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole flips out over balls and strikes, gives up game-tying three-run homer to Alex Verdugo

Knight called the 1-2 pitch low here — and it was low. After watching Sox hurler Rich Hill get expanded strikes above the zone on looping curveballs all night, though, it’s obvious Cole wanted this pitch to end the inning, and his outing.

Alas, for seemingly the thousandth time this season, Cole was unable to shake off the slightest tweak to his evening, real (a bad call) or perceived (Billy Crystal milling about).

Cole’s going to start Game 1 of a postseason series in a few weeks. Hopefully the anthem’s not too long, or else he’s probably going to get bopped around a little bit.

The right-hander surrendered a game-tying home run to Verdugo on the very next pitch, the 31st home run he’s allowed on the season, as well as the remarkable 19th blast to either tie the game or give his opponent the lead. After striking out JD Martinez to wrap the inning, he gave the umpire a piece of his mind, Aaron Boone stepped in to blindly defend his “ace,” and both men got ejected.

Sadly, neither will get a chance to watch Aaron Judge tie Roger Maris’ recor — oh, who are we kidding? Even Judge has looked like a disaster in this one. He’s been Red Sox defense-level bad.

Guess the chase begins anew tomorrow, when Cole will have a front-row seat and can’t affect the outcome.

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