Yankees’ starting rotation continues domination despite frustrating loss

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, nestor cortes
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees fell 4-3 in the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. Despite the loss, SP Nestor Cortes Jr. delivered another solid outing for the Yankees rotation, making Major League history in the process.

Cortes’ performance sets new MLB record for the Yankees rotation

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, nestor cortes
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On the night, Cortes dealt 5.1 IP, striking out four, and allowing just two earned runs, both of which came as the result of a two-run home run off the bat of Angels CF Kevin Pillar in the first inning. Per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Cortes’ strong performance marked the 15th consecutive game in which Yankees starting pitchers allowed two or fewer runs while pitching at least five innings, setting a new MLB record.

Yankees starters have been otherworldly of late

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
Mar 3, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

During that 15-game stretch, the Yankees rotation has been virtually untouchable. Entering play Tuesday, the Yankees starters were 11-2, with a 0.84 ERA since May 12th, by far the best ERA in baseball in that span.

Entering Tuesday, Yankees starters were 16-5, with a 1.96 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, and a 2.7 fWAR in the month of May. Three more wins than the second-place Phillies (13), and well ahead of the second-place Orioles in ERA (2.32).

Four of the five Yankees starters (Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, Carlos Rodón, and Marcus Stroman) have a sub-three ERA on the season. Cortes has the highest mark in the rotation with a 3.30 ERA, however, that figure would be the lowest on three Major League teams, the Cleveland Guardians, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees’ rotation hasn’t missed a beat despite missing their ace

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Jul 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts after recording a strikeout against the Houston Astros to end the game at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s rotation has been so dominant, yet they aren’t even at full strength. Gerrit Cole, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, has not pitched a single inning this season due to an elbow injury suffered during Spring Training and has been eyeing a return in mid-June.

Adding a pitcher of Cole’s caliber will only deepen the Yankees’ pitching depth, although it is difficult to justify removing any of the Yankees’ starters from the rotation upon his return given their performance of late.

The Yankees will look to bounce back after Tuesday’s late-inning loss in the second game of a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels. Luis Gil will take the ball for the Yankees, who have been dominant of late, pitching to a perfect 5-0 record with a 0.59 ERA and 35 strikeouts over his last five starts.

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