Josh Naylor had an incredibly disrespectful celebration after returning from Gerrit Cole, but that may have fueled the Yankees against the Guardians.
On Sunday night at Progressive Field, the Cleveland Guardians had the opportunity to send the New York Yankees to packing. To do that, though, they’ll likely have to grab a piece of Gerrit Cole and let some of the myrtle warts that many fans have complained about this season rise to the surface.
Josh Naylor, the ranger, tried to do just that. After Cleveland closed the 3-1 lead, Naylor hit the field below his knees 405 feet to midfield for the solo run at home, then staged a brutal celebration when he rocked the kid in Cole’s direction and called the bowler his “little **his son” It is about rules.
It was a worldwide level of disrespect with celebration, especially from a younger player less accomplished in baseball than Cole. And it could be the totally wrong move for Cleveland given what happened next, especially with regards to the Yankees.
Josh Naylor may have awakened big game Gerrit Cole to keep the Yankees alive against the Guardians.
Fans in the Bronx may have a new dislike for Naylor over the celebration, but they should send him a thank you card. Because this celebration in Game 4 opened the door for Cole to be a dominant force in the big game for the Yanks.
After the single shot, Cole retired 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced, including six hits during that time, with the only hit he allowed to be one. With Giancarlo Stanton making a sacrifice fly and a bull doing his job, it was enough to keep the Yankees alive at the ALDS with a 4-2 win, forcing the series back to New York in a game 5 winner takes it all.
It’s totally understandable for a player to get excited for a big moment in a post-season game, even if it’s just a little louder as it was with Naylor’s celebration. However, it also risks causing the opposing team to step in and work harder.
And that seems to be the case indeed for Cole and the Yankees on Sunday night.