Yankees are seeing massive regression from impact pitcher

nestor cortes, yankees
Sep 8, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) reacts during the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ rotation has encountered a series of issues in its early stages. The team has lost Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodon, and Luis Severino due to injuries. Even though Severino’s return is imminent, the team has been compelled to depend more on their depth arms than desired.

These backup pitchers haven’t consistently performed well. Domingo German (with a 4.00 ERA) is showing signs of improvement, but Jhony Brito and Clarke Schmidt have alternated between good and bad starts. However, the most worrying factor for the Yankees has been the recent performance of Nestor Cortes Jr.

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The Yankees need more from Nestor Cortes:

With a 5.53 ERA over 42.1 innings, Cortes has considerably regressed compared to his 2.90 ERA in 2021 and the 2.44 mark from last year. He has allowed 15 earned runs in his last three starts, spanning 14 innings.

Cortes, the Yankees’ southpaw, seems to struggle in the later stages of games. Much of this problem seems to arise from difficulties handling lineups for a third time. Whether it’s the pitch clock causing him to tire earlier in games or an issue with command, Cortes has a dismal 24.30 ERA the third time through a lineup, as opposed to 2.45 the first time and 1.56 the second time.

Unless he rectifies these issues, Gerrit Cole, with a 2.22 ERA over 56.2 innings, will be the Yankees’ only fully reliable and dependable rotation arm. The team had at least two workhorses on the staff in the last two seasons, but due to Cortes’ struggles, they’re now down to just Cole and the hope that the remaining four pitchers will have a good day.

For the Yankees to maintain momentum and secure more wins, the rotation needs Luis Severino to return as soon as possible (he is expected to return on Sunday) and Cortes to devise a strategy to effectively navigate through lineups for a third time.