Yankees' Gerrit Cole ties mark for consecutive strikeouts without walk

Three strikes: One stat shows just how dominant Gerrit Cole has been this season for the Yankees

Steve Gardner
USA TODAY

It's no secret pitchers have enjoyed the upper hand against hitters this season. At the start of play on Thursday, nine qualified starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.00 or better.  

The best of the best, Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, has allowed a total of three earned runs in 40 innings (0.68 ERA). But since he's currently on the injured list, the unofficial title of the best pitcher in baseball at this very moment belongs to Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees.

Cole (5-1) shut out the Tampa Bay Rays for eight innings in a 1-0 win, but that doesn't even begin to describe his dominance.

By tossing eight scoreless innings, Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole lowered his season ERA to a minuscule 1.37.

Unstoppable Cole train

With 12 strikeouts on Wednesday, Cole reached 1,500 for his career in just his 212th major league game. That makes him the second-fastest to 1,500 Ks in MLB history, behind Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.

But even more impressive, he didn't walk a batter for the fifth start in a row. Cole has now struck out 56 batters since issuing his last free pass. According to Elias Sports, that's tied for the most consecutive whiffs without allowing a walk since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893. 

For the season, Cole's strikeout-to-walk ratio is a ridiculous 78 to 3.

Seventy-eight strikeouts. Three walks. 

Warning track follies

It was a tough night for a couple of pretty good defensive outfielders. Harrison Bader of the St. Louis Cardinals lost his footing on a deep fly ball in the sixth inning, but still managed to make a spectacular catch. 

What he did after that wasn't so great. Bader's bobble allowed Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain to accomplish the rare feat of scoring from second base on a sacrifice fly in the Brewers' 4-1 victory.

Meanwhile in Washington, Bryce Harper had some trouble judging a fly ball in his former home park. He and center fielder Odubel Herrera played it into an RBI triple for the Nationals' Alex Avila.

The Phillies ended up winning 5-2 in 10 innings.

Backyard baseball

A scene that took place on a daily basis when they were growing up finally became a reality for the Zimmer brothers on Wednesday night. 

Although both have already made their major league debuts, pitcher Kyle Zimmer and younger brother Bradley, an outfielder, had never faced each other in a professional game ... until the Class AAA clash between Kyle's Omaha Storm Chasers and Bradley's Columbus Clippers. 

Kyle, 29, is in his third MLB season with the Kansas City Royals, but just began a rehab assignment while coming back from a strained muscle in the back of his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Bradley, 28, has bounced back and forth from Cleveland to the minors over the past four seasons. 

With both of their parent clubs in the same division, there's a pretty good chance we could see this same scenario play out in the majors sometime soon.

Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner.