Good news and bad news as Yankees pummel Tampa Bay to open series

nestor cortes, yankees

The New York Yankees took on the Tampa Bay Rays down south on Thursday night, walking away with a win to open the series. This year, the Rays have won 26 games, now sitting 5.5 games behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. The Bombers have won 32 games, securing a .711 winning percentage with a +73 run differential.

Luckily, starting pitcher Nestor Cortes got the first crack at the Tampa Bay offense, putting together yet another stellar performance.

Good news and bad news as Yankees grab first game of series against Rays:

Cortes entered Thursday’s match-up with a 1.80 ERA over 45 innings this season. He hosts a career-best 11.20 strikeouts per nine and a 9.3 home-run/flyball ratio. He’s also posting an 87.6% left on base rate and generating a 35.2% ground ball rate.

He finished the win giving up four hits over 8.0 innings, securing five strikeouts. Cortes gave up one run, lowering his ERA to 1.70. He tossed 109 pitches, with the only run coming in the bottom of the 9th inning when he was simply out of gas. Wandy Peralta entered to clean up, allowing a few singles before Tampa ran out of juice.

Offensively, the Yankees started slow but began piecing together quality contact in the middle-innings against Ryan Yarborough. They finished with six hits and six strikeouts over 32 at-bats. Aaron Judge tallied a hit and two RBIs on the evening.

Fellow slugger Joey Gallo struck out three times over four at-bats, lowering his average to .165 with a .278 on-base percentage.

The Yankees have been completely decimated with injuries over the past week, losing DJ LeMahieu to wrist discomfort and Giancarlo Stanton to a sore ankle. It was first reported that Stanton had suffered a calf injury, an issue that has kept him out in the past.

The Yankees featured Miguel Andujar in the cleanup spot, supplementing Stanton’s loss. Andujar recorded one hit and an RBI on the night, making a positive impact on the team. There’s a legitimate argument to make it Andujar could begin eating into Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo’s time in the outfield.