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Paxton talks Cole’s impact on Yankees rotation

The Big Maple heaped glowing praise on his new rotation mate in the Big Apple. James Paxton voiced his thoughts on Gerrit Cole during an MLB Network Radio interview.

“I heard the rumblings and I was excited about it,” Paxton said. “I know Gerrit from quite a few years ago, we spent some time together. He’s a great guy and obviously, probably the best pitcher on the planet and I’m really excited to learn from him, having him pitching on the squad.”

The Yankee southpaw went on to emphasize the importance of Cole’s role as an ace and how that affects the squad.

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“It’s fun. You know back in 2014 when I was with Seattle, I got to watch Felix Hernandez pitch on that run where I think he broke the record for most games going, I think seven or more innings, allowing two or fewer earned runs. That was unbelievable. Just to watch something like that was amazing,” Paxton noted of having a front-row seat to King Felix in his prime.

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“I’ve watched other guys have some great runs, Gerrit was I think unbeaten a long time last year. I think he lost a game in May and then not until the postseason he lost again. That was absolutely amazing and I’m really excited to have that guy on our team and I get really excited to watch him pitch,” Paxton said of Cole’s run without dropping a regular-season decision after May 22 against the Chicago White Sox.

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Paxton also spoke to how that “ace effect” will serve to relax the rest of the team.

“It’s going to be great for our team. The guys, the hitters can relax on days that Gerrit is pitching or guys who on a roll who are pitching and I think that allows them to be loose and be able to do what they do best and score runs. That’s what I strive to do is to give those guys a day where they feel relaxed and they don’t need to put all the pressure on themselves,” Paxton said.

“I think that’s the same thing for our starting rotation, there’s a really good group coming into New York this year to pitch and I think that everyone knowing that everyone is so good kind of takes the pressure off yourself with having to be so good,” Paxton added.