Despite gaining momentum earlier this week, the New York Yankees couldn’t secure a victory against the Houston Astros on Friday night. The team currently sports a 57–53 record, and without star hitter Aaron Judge in the lineup, they seem incapable of winning baseball games.
Being 11 games behind in the AL East and 3.5 games adrift in the Wild Card, the Yankees are swiftly running out of time to make a play for a postseason appearance. Although a few weeks remain for them to fight back into the race, the team needs to demonstrate their prowess by defeating strong opponents rather than relying on weaker teams to make headway.
A Ray of Hope: Nestor Cortés’ Return
Fortunately, the Yankees are expecting reinforcements in their pitching rotation. Left-handed starter Nestor Cortés is set to return after Friday’s loss. The 28-year-old has been out of action for an extended period, having been placed on a 60-day injured list due to a shoulder issue.
Cortés is slated to start on Saturday, his first appearance since May 30 against the Seattle Mariners. His previous performance includes 11 appearances, during which he pitched 59.1 innings and recorded a 5.16 ERA, 8.95 strikeouts per nine, a 68.2% left on-base rate, and a 25.9% ground ball rate.
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Cortés’ Potential Impact For the Yankees
Fresh off his most successful season to date, Cortés achieved a 2.44 ERA, 3.63 xFIP, 9.27 strikeouts per nine, and an 82.8% left-on-base rate across 158.1 innings. The Yankees desperately need this lefty starter to revert to his peak performance, especially after recording a 5.47 ERA in May before being sidelined.
Given the ongoing struggles in the Yankees’ rotation, with Luis Severino caught in a prolonged slump and Domingo German placed on the restricted list due to alcohol abuse, the team desperately needs a positive boost. All eyes will be on Nestor Cortés in the hope that his return can help steer the Yankees towards a more successful path.