New York Yankees: Will Nestor Cortes Jr. stand tall in the 2022 rotation?

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

It was August 28, 2021, and the New York Yankees faced the Oakland Athletics, with Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound trying to win the Yankee’s 14th win in a row. A win would have been the longest consecutive winning streak since 1941. But, unfortunately, the victory was not to be had, as Cortes gave up three runs through the sixth inning, and the Yankees, as so often last season, could only muster up two runs of their own.

Although Cortes didn’t win that game, he had been a Godsend for the Yankees with the injury to Corey Kluber. Cortes started the season as a reliever out of the bullpen but gradually stretched out to a starter to fill the gap.

Cortes was a strange pitcher that didn’t have an overpowering fastball or no particular put-out pitch. What he did have was an ever-changing delivery that mystified opposing hitters. He finished the season 2-3 in 22 games. He struck out five players a game and amassed a tiny ERA of just 2.90. However, like other Yankee pitchers, he suffered from little run support.

The question now is, what part will he play in the 2022 season? Will we see him back in the bullpen or again as a starting pitcher in the rotation. If the Yankees can’t pull in a significant number two starter to back up Gerrit Cole, you could see Cortes standing tall right in the middle of the rotation, either in front or behind Jordan Montgomery. Was last season an anomaly, or is he the real deal? Much of how the Yankees treat Cortes will be based on his performance in spring training, if and when that starts.

An excellent example of Cortes on the mound happened in a game against the Angels. Cortes Jr. is an old fashion pitcher, a real pitcher that constantly surprises his opponents with a whacky windup and throws any pitch at any time. He keeps hitters off-balance, often making them laugh. In a game against the Angels, he faced the great Shohei Ohtani. When Cortes made a bunch of strange moves on the mound, Ohtani laughed, thinking that Cortes was afraid to pitch to him; the fact was that he was playing with Ohtani. Cortes is scared of nothing and always has fun on the mound. He can’t blow away hitters, but his mental game wins.

Cortes Jr. throws a four-seam fastball that averages approximately 89 miles per hour. He also throws a slider and a curveball. His curveball has been registered as slow as 47 miles per hour. Hitters never know what they are going to get from Cortes. He throws all of his pitches in any situation. His style has given Yankee fans something to enjoy.

Cortes was born in Surgidero de Batabano, Cuba. His father won a lottery when Nestor was just a baby, and his father moved the family to Hialeah, Florida. Cortes started playing baseball at the age of 5. He pitched for Hialeah High School and Florida International University. The Yankees selected Cortes in the 36th round of the 2013 draft. He started in the Gulf Coast League, but the Yankees didn’t protect him, and the Orioles claimed him in the Rule 5 draft. He made his Major League debut as a Baltimore Oriole on the first day of the 2018 season.

On April 13, 2018, he was returned to the Yankees. He played in one game for the Trenton Thunder, but he advanced to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, combining a 6†“6 record and a 3.68 ERA in 24 games. In spring training in 2019, he didn’t make the team and started the season in Scranton. On May 9, he was advanced to the Stadium. On June 15, he earned his first Major League win but again was sent down to Scranton, where he completed the season 5-1, but in November, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners. He bombed with the Mariners and selected free agency.

The New York Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in a third stint. He came up to the Stadium on May 20, 2021. In nine games at the beginning of the season, he won no games but recorded a 1.05 ERA. The Yankees won both of the games that Cortes started. Where he ends up in the rotation this season, one thing will be sure he will surely entertain.

New York Yankees: An umpire can dramatically change an entire season

The New York Yankees season came to an end when they lost the wild card game against the Boston Red Sox. But it didn’t have to be that way. First, of all this is not a condemnation of umpires because they are held to a different standard than players or managers. Second, it’s not about one team or even one win or loss. It’s simply a statement of fact. An umpire’s lousy call can dramatically change any baseball season with just one bad call.

Any ardent baseball fan watching the game for years knows that there are good umpires and those known to be pretty lousy. So many fans have wondered for years how Angel Hernandez keeps his job; he is generally considered to be the worst umpire there is. The names C.B. Bucknor and Joes West also enter into the conversation. But in this postseason, none is worse than Gabe Morales. He might have made two season-ending mistakes that might as well have sent two teams packing. What makes the mistakes beyond egregious is that the bad calls weren’t even close to correct. In this modern age of instant replay, mistakes and how bad they were being flashed around the world in an instant.

After Morales made his last season-ending mistake, New York Yankee pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. had seen enough and expressed so on Twitter. He did it very politely, but he had to call out Morales for his ugly officiating.

Nestor Cortes@Cortes_1210@mlb umpires need to make a living, and I know that, but that call is ridiculous12:38 AM · Oct 15, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

The call he was referring to was Morales’s far from a correct call he made in the Los Angeles Dodgers/San Francisco Giants ALDS final game 5. In the ninth inning of that game, a horrible call sent the Giants packing with one hideous call. Wilmer Flores was called out when he failed to hold up. The problem call was uncovered on instant replay that Flores did hold up and by a mile. Unfortunately, that type of call can not be challenged, and just like that, the San Francisco Giants went down with a resounding thud.

That call sparked memories for Cortes Jr. that were very close to his heart. There is nothing exceptional about Cortes Jrs. pitching, except for the results. He is not a flame thrower, doesn’t have one particular strike-out pitch. He is an enigma. Hitters never know what is coming at them from all different arm angles, speeds, and positions. But, Cortes Jr. also has an excellent memory. He doesn’t forget. He knows who is responsible for a dramatically missed call. A call that may have been the difference between the Yankees playing the wild card game in the familiar environs of Yankee Stadium instead of having to play at Fenway Park.

New York Yankees 10/2: Takeaways as the Yankees lose but reach magic #1

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

The New York Yankees were licking their wounds after a ninth-inning rally failed to save them from losing a game one 4-3 from the Tampa Bay Rays. But at the time, they had no idea that in the middle of the night, they would reduce their magic number to #1. The Seattle Mariners game didn’t start until 10 pm EDT and didn’t end until after 1 am in the east, but by the time they walked off the field, the Mariners had lost the game propelling the Yankees to that magic #1.

Last night’s Yankee/Ray contest was a typically hard-fought game on both team’s part. However, the game never got out of hand to the point that it was lopsided. The Tampa Bay Rays got on the board early, with Nelson Cruz sending one into the New York night. But Giancarlo Stanton blasted an RBI to leave the first inning tied at one apiece. The next seven innings would be scoreless for the Yankees.

After nearly three hours, the game was still close with the Rays having a one-run advantage, then came a very exciting and tense ninth inning for both teams. The Rays tacked on two runs. In the bottom of the inning, with the Yankees behind by three runs, the Yankees’ late rally garnered them two more runs, but it wasn’t enough.

Nasty Nestor still doing his job

Nestor Cortes Jr. took to the mound last night and did what he has been doing ever since the reliever was turned into a starter by necessity. He kept the Yankees in the game. After giving up a homer to Nelson Cruz in the first, he settled down and gave the Yankees almost five innings giving up just one more run while striking out five Rays.

Also, last night Domingo German returned from the IL after not pitching for two months. Boone called in German to pitch the eighth. German pitched a scoreless eighth. He went into the first out of the ninth giving up two earned runs while striking out three. Many fans were asking why Boone didn’t bring closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

“He’s going to be in some difficult situations,” Boone said. “We’ve got to lean on everyone down there. The walks hurt to knock him out of the game, but I thought overall he threw the ball pretty well.”

“I just felt like, matchup-wise, it was good,” Boone said. “I thought Albert did a good job of getting Arozarena out and then he puts Franco on the ground there. He just found a hole with it.”

If the Yankees come up on the wrong side of things after this series, this decision will be questioned again.

Yankee bats stymied by Tampa pitchers

The New York Yankees, maybe more than some teams, have had a great deal of difficulty hitting off good pitchers, and that’s what they faced last night. At the end of the night, the Yankees only got five hits off Rays pitching until they got to Kittredge in the ninth. But it ended up too little too late. Only Stanton and Gardner had two hits in the game. Five Yankees were hitless.

Yankee magic number is now one

This morning, the New York Yankees sit firmly in the number one berth for home-field advantage in the wild card game by one game. The Red Sox are holding on tight for that second spot after winning their game against the Nationals last night. Toronto also won last night and is one game behind the Red Sox. With the Mariners’ loss early this morning, they will have to win both of their remaining games to stay in contention.

If the Yankees win today, they will be assured of the home-field advantage even if the Red Sox win another one. Today the Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 pm EDT. Jordan Montgomery will be on the mound for the Yankees and Shane Baz for the Rays.

Saturday’s matinee will feature the matchup of veteran Jordan Montgomery against the young Shane Baz. Montgomery is a lefty that is 6-6 with an ERA of 3.49 and 159 strikeouts. “Monty” is the Yankee poster boy for getting little run support in his games. He is coming off two wins against the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. He has had only one bad outing this season. It was on September 10th when he gave up seven earned runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The Rays hitters have not been particularly successful of him, but he will have to watch out for Manuel Margot, who in 14 at-bats has a .357 batting average.

Twenty-two-year-old Shane Baz will be a mystery to Yankee hitters as they have not seen him pitch except on video. However, he made his major league debut on September 20th and has won both of his games against the Toronto Blue jays and the Miami Marlins. He has pitched a total of 10.2 innings. In his Toronto game, he gave up two home runs. In his Marlins start, he allowed three hits in his scoreless 5.2 innings.

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Tampa Bay Rays squeak by the Yankees for game one win

Suppose the last few series weren’t urgent enough or exciting enough for New York Yankee fans. In that case, this weekend, it was upfront and in your face, over the top exciting at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx as the Yankees played their final regular-season series with their rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already clinched the AL East, so basically, they have nothing to lose, but believe it, they won’t let the Yankees off the hook. The Yankees lost the game as a ninth-inning rally failed 4-3.

The Tampa Bay Rays hate the New York Yankees for a variety of reasons. The tensions between these two teams have been building for years. So if you think for one moment that the Rays will roll over and let the Yankees win, think again. They will do anything to shame the Yankees or knock them out of a home-field advantage in the wild card. They may realign their pitching for the postseason, but you can be sure the Rays’ hitters will not let up on Yankee pitching. That pitching tonight saw starter with Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound facing the Rays’ Shane McClanahan.

The top of the first inning saw Randy Arozarena at the plate against Cortes, he went down on strikes. Wander Franco flew out to Gallo in left. Nelson Cruz homered to the left-field stands. Yanky Diaz flew out to Rizzo in foul territory to end the half with the Rays getting on the board first. In the bottom, Gleyber Torres led off for the Yankees and got a long double to left. Anthony Rizzo flew out to right. Torres advanced on a passed ball. Aaron Judge went down on strikes. Giancarlo Stanton scorched one to right for his 97th RBI of the season, with Torres scoring. Joey Gallo struck out to end the inning tied. New York Yankees 1 Tampa Bay Rays 1.

The second inning was led off by Ji-Man Choi, who struck out.  Manuel Margot reached on a roller to the pitcher. Joey Wendle flew out to a diving Joey Gallo. Francisco Mejia singled in a knockdown by Odor but couldn’t get the out. Kevin Kiermaier singled with Margot scoring, but Mejia was called out trying to reach third for the final out. At the bottom, Gio Urshela led off for the Yankees and ground out softly to second. Brett Gardner singled beyond short. Kyle Higashioka flew out to right. Rougie Odor getting a chance to play grounded out to third. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

The top of the third inning was led off by Arozarena, who went down on strikes. Franco flew out to Gardner in center. Cruz went down on strikes for a 1-2-3 inning for Cortes Jr. At the bottom, Torres ground out to short. Rizzo struck out. Judge chopped out softly to short to end the inning. Rays 2 and Yankees 1.

Yandy Diaz led off the fourth inning by flying out to Gardner in center. Choi struck out swinging. Margot flew out to Gallo in far left for another 1-2-3 inning for Cortes Jr.  At the bottom, Stanton led off against new pitcher Pete Fairbanks struck out swinging. Gallo ground out to second. Urshela singled to left on a ball that couldn’t be handled. Brett Gardner went down on strikes to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

The fifth inning was led off by Joey Wendle that ground out to short. Mejia flew out to Judge in right field. Kiermaier tripled to center, and that was the end of the night for Nestor Cortes. Arozarena faced the new Yanke pitcher Clay Holmes and struck out to end the half. Higashiokia led off the bottom by grounding out to short. Odor ground out to short. Torres struck out swinging. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

Wander Franco led off the sixth inning bay ground out to short. Cruz ground out to Torres for the second out. Diaz walked, bringing pitcher Wandy Peralta to face Choi, who struck out to end the half. At the bottom, Anthony Rizzo lined out to first. Judge who has been quiet tonight singled to right-center. Stanton went down on strikes. Gallo flew out to right field to end another scoreless inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

Margot, the Yankee killer, led off the seventh inning. He has won four of his worst nightmare. Margot struck out. Mejias singled. Kiermaier walked after being hit by a pitch. Arozarena faced new Yankee pitcher Loaisiga and walked to load the bases with Rays. Franco struck out on a 100 mph fastball to leave the bases loaded with Rays. At the bottom, Urshela led off the bottom by striking out. Gardner ground singled. Higashioka ground out, and Odor struck out to end the inning. Tampa Bay Rays 2 New York Yankees 1.

At the top of the eighth inning, with Domingo German on the mound for the Yankees, Cruz ground out. Diaz singled. Diaz stole second. Choi struck out. Margot stuck out swinging to end the half and strand Diaz. At the bottom, Odor ground out to first. Torres led off the bottom of the eighth by flying out to left. Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

Joey Wendle led off the ninth facing Domingo German and struck out for German’s third strikeout in a row. Mejia walked. Phillips was brought in to pinch run. Kiermaier walked, knocking German out of the game replaced by Albert Abreu. Randy Arozarena, with two on and one out, reached on a force out with Mijia going to third. Arozarena stole second.  With two on and two outs, Franco got a two-run single for the three-run lead over the Yankees. Cruz flew out to Gardner to end the half.

At the bottom, with the Yankees needing a miracle, Aaron Judge took to the plate and ground out to third. Stanton doubled to left. Stanton stole third. Gallo got a bunt single scoring Stanton. Urshela singled to right field, moving Gallo to second. Tyler Wade was brought in to pinch-run for Urshela. Brett Gardner, with two on and one out, singled to right driving in Gallo. Gary Sanchez, pinch-hitting for Higashioka, struck out for the second out of the inning. Rougie Odor went down on strikes to end the game.

The final score was the Tampa Bay Rays 4 and the New York Yankees 3. The winning pitcher was Luis Head; the loser was Nestor Cortes jr., with the save going to Andrew Kittridge as the Yankees rally in the ninth fell short.

 

 

New Yankees Preview of the final regular season series with the Rays

Suppose the last few series weren’t urgent enough or exciting enough for New York Yankee fans. In that case this weekend it will be upfront and in your face, over the top exciting at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx as the Yankees play their final regular-season series with their rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already clinched the AL East, so basically, they have nothing to lose, but believe it, they won’t let the Yankees off the hook.

The Tampa Bay Rays hate the New York Yankees for a variety of reasons. The tensions between these two teams have been building for years. So if you think for one moment that the Rays will roll over and let the Yankees win, think again. They will do anything to shame the Yankees or knock them out of a home-field advantage in the wild card. They may realign their pitching for the postseason, but you can be sure the Rays’ hitters will not let up on Yankee pitching.

Much of this series will depend on the powerful New York Yankees remaining powerful. Hitting will be all-important. The Yankees hit 8 long balls in the Toronto Blue Jays series. Three by Aaron Judge.

Tonight, October 1, 7:05 pm EDT

Tonight the Yankees will send Nasty Nestor Cortes Jr. to the mound. You can be sure that “Bronxie,” the turtle that he bought for the team, won’t be on the mound with him, but don’t be surprised after the game if he says he rubbed his little back for luck before taking the field. “Bronxie” has been a winning charm for the Yankees since his purchase and has become the unofficial mascot of the Yankees.

Cortes is a lefty that is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.85 and 98 strikeouts. Please pay more attention to his ERA than his record. The reliever turned starter is a much better pitcher than his stats would indicate. His range of pitches and different arm angles mystify hitters. Since becoming a starter late in July, the Yankees have won eight of his eleven starts.  Brandon Lowe and Ji-Man Choi have been quite successful off him.

Shane McClanahan has been one of the best Rays pitchers this season. The lefty is 10-6 with an ERA of 3.44 and 138 strikeouts. This game will probably be the most challenging of the three pitting these two pitchers together. McClanahan is coming off his 10th win of the season against the Miami Marlins. If anything has plagued him this season, it is winning several, followed by losing several. Before the win, he is coming off losses in his previous three starts. Other than DJ LeMahieu, the top of the Yankee line-up has not been successful off on him; the bottom is a different story. Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela both have .600 batting averages off him in 5 at-bats.

Saturday, October 2, 1:05 pm EDT

Saturday’s matinee will feature the matchup of veteran Jordan Montgomery against the young Shane Baz. Montgomery is a lefty that is 6-6 with an ERA of 3.49 and 159 strikeouts. “Monty” is the Yankee poster boy for getting little run support in his games. He is coming off two wins against the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. He has had only one bad outing this season. It was on September 10th when he gave up seven earned runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The Rays hitters have not been particularly successful of him, but he will have to watch out for Manuel Margot, who in 14 at-bats has a .357 batting average.

Shane Baz will be a mystery to Yankee hitters as they have not seen him pitch except on video. He made his major league debut on September 20th and has won both of his games against the Toronto Blue jays and the Miami Marlins. He has pitched a total of 10.2 innings. In his Toronto game, he gave up two home runs. In his Marlins start, he allowed three hits in his scoreless 5.2 innings.

Sunday, October 3, 3:05 pm EDT

As a note, all games on the last day of the season will start at 3:05. The New York Yankees want to see how the first two games go before deciding on a starter for game three of the series. They would like to save Gerrit Cole for the wild card game, but he will be available on short rest if the need arises.

Whoever the Yankees send to the mound, he will face the Rays’ Michael Wacha, a righty that is 3-5 with an elevated ERA of 5.26 and 119 strikeouts. Wacha has already met the Yankees three times this season, winning two of those games. However, he has not pitched well lately. The Rays have lost eight of his last eleven starts and are coming off four losses in a row. Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu have been big trouble for Wacha.

All three of these games will be televised on the YES Network and Bally Sports Sun. Tonight’s game and the game on Saturday will also be on MLBN out of market.

New York Yankees 9/25: 3 Major takeaways from win over the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Last night the New York Yankees entered one of their most critical series of the season to hold on to a wild-card berth in the postseason. The New York Yankees opened a three-game series with their traditional age-long rivals Boston Red Sox, at Fenway Park in Boston. The Yankees put ace Gerrit Cole on the mound to face one of the Red Sox’s most successful pitchers Nathan Eovaldi in that effort. The effort came up big as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-3.

Gerrit Cole gets the job done

New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole took the mound at Fenway Park last night against one of the best Red Sox pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi, with the hope of bouncing back from one of his worst losses of the season. He did that, although certainly not with dominance. Instead, he had a lot of run support right off the bat with the help of Eovaldi, who just didn’t have it.

Cole went six innings giving up three earned runs and walking 3 for an ERA in the neighborhood of 4.50, not anything to brag about. What should be somewhat disturbing to the Yankees is that Cole had his best months during April and May. During June and July, he was just okay. Unfortunately, September hasn’t been as good pitching really well in only two of five games started. Going into a possible postseason, the Yankees and fans can only hope he can rise to the occasion and has not tired.

It takes a team to support a pitcher

Last night a phenomenon took place that has been absent in so many games this season. The pitchers and players acted like a complete team, with everyone doing their job. And that became evident very early in the game. The Yankees in so many games have relied on late rallies to win nail-biting games. Last night the Yankees made a quick statement by scoring 3 runs in the first inning.

What was so impressive was the Yankees got those three runs with energetic, aggressive play and not via the home run. It’s called small ball. The Yankees did get their homers in the game. The increasingly hot Giancarlo Stanton got a two-run shot in the third inning, and Gleyber Torres got his in the seventh inning. Those runs counted for 3 of the Yankees 8 runs. These rest were achieved by old fashion good baseball. Each Yankee got at least one hit, with Stanton and Torres leading the attack with three apiece.

The Yankees inch closer to the postseason

With the win last night and the Toronto Blue Jays loss, the Yankees inched closer to a sure berth in the wild-card round. With the win over the Rangers in the last game of that series and the win last night, the Yankees are now in sole possession of the second wild-card berth. Also, with the win, the Red Sox are just one game up on them for home-field advantage. If the Yankees can sweep the Red Sox on their own turf, they will have that number one spot and home-field advantage, going into a three-game series with the Blue Jays that are lagging by 2 games with only 8 games remaining in the regular season.

Notes: Game number two of the Red Sox series will be today at 4:10 pm at Fenway Park. Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees and Nick Pivetta for the Red Sox. The game will be televised on the YES Network, NESN, and MLBN out of market. Join me today in the Facebook Yankees group “Yankee fans R US!!” and chat about the game in our live game thread. So Check-in early and hit join!

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from Yankees win over the Rangers

After losing two games to the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees took to the field with a new urgency to get back a wild-card berth. The Yankees didn’t disappoint; they won the game 4-3. They have two more games with the Rangers; then the remaining schedule gets tough when they play three teams that are ahead of them.

Nestor Cortez kept the Yankees in the game

On September 15, Nestor Cortes Jr. had one of his best games of the season, striking out 11 Orioles in a Yankee win. Last night he wasn’t quite that good, but he kept the Yankees in the game. He lasted 4.1 innings with 7 strikeouts and giving up three runs. The fifth was led off by Culberson, who homered to left. Taveras hit a ground-rule double. Kiner-Falafa doubled, scoring Culberson. Manager Boone pulled him, replacing him with Chad Green, who got the final out, holding the Rangers to three runs to prevent any further damage.

Bullpen leads the way in win

Last night unlike some games recently, the Yankee bullpen was stellar. After Cortes Jr. was taken out of the game, Chad Green pitched 1.2 innings of hitless ball. He was followed by Clay Holmes, who allowed just one hit in another 1.2 innings of work. Joely Rodriguez came in to get the last out of the eighth. Then it was nail-biter time. With only a one-run advantage in the game, Aroldis Chapman came in to close out the game.

Chapman facing Heim was stuck out put out. Culberson grounded out to third. Taveras, as the last hope for the Rangers, struck out for the Yankee win. for the first time in a long time, Chapman left the game with a defiant look on his face. The final score was the New York Yankees 4 and the Texas Rangers 3. The winning pitcher was Chad Green, and the loser was A.J. Alexy. Aroldis Chapman got his 28th save of the season.

Gary Sanchez mixed bag, Boone says no!

Gary Sanchez has had a horrid week defensively, costing the Yankees big time. Yet manager Boone continues to sing his praises and says that Yankee fans scrutinize him too critically. On the offensive side, Sanchez has had 8 hits during 13 games in September, four of them for home runs.

The New York Yankees especially Boone have supported Sanchez regardless of this lack of focus at key times, boneheaded running mistakes, and passed balls. He has been a lightning rod for controversy during his entire career, yet the support continues. What do you think?

New York Yankees: Preview of a Yankee must sweep series

Tonight, the New York Yankees enter a near must sweep series with the lowly Texas Rangers. The Rangers are playing .369 baseball, with the Yankees still trying to get a berth in a one-game wild-card playoff; they must dominate starting right now. Of the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees have the most difficult schedule remaining. After this Texas series, the Yankees play the Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays, and finally, the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Editorially speaking, after the last two really embarrassing losses, the Boo Birds are out in full force; they actually booed off the field their best starting pitcher of the season. Social media is packed with advice on who should be fired. This is not the time for boos. This is the time to root on the New York Yankees; they still have a chance at a wild-card berth and a 28th World Championship.

The Yankees unexplainably have played some of their best baseball of the season and their worst recently. The Yankee pitching is in shambles, they have been playing sloppy baseball, and the hitters have been inconsistent at best. But this is still a team that can show power and win games. This team has turned it around before and can do it again.

The Texas Rangers have had a dreadful season. Before the season, they lost some key players, including Corey Kluber. As a result, they sit at the bottom of the AL West, losing 94 games and winning only 55. Going into this series, the Yankees will have the ERA advantage against each Texas Ranger starter. The Yankees should dominate and sweep the Rangers, but at least they must take the series to have any hope of advancing.

Tonight, September 20, 7:05 pm EDT

Tonight, Nestor Cortes Jr., who has been a Godsend for the Yankees, will take the mound in the first game of the series. Cortes is a lefty that is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.60 and 87 strikeouts. The Yankees have won 6 of his last nine starts, and he is coming off of one of his best starts of the year. He went into the seventh inning, striking out a season-high 11 Orioles batters. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe is the only Ranger that has been successful off Cortes.

Cortes will face the Texas Rangers’ A. J. Alexy, a righty that is 2-0 with an ERA of 3.68 and 14 strikeouts in three starts. The Rangers needed a starter, and Alexy was promoted from the minors to the Rangers on August 30. He is coming off a 15-1 loss to the Houston Astros when he gave up 6 earned runs in 3.2 innings of work. No Yankee has ever faced Alexy.

Tuesday, September 21, 7:05 pm EDT

Tuesday night, the Yankees will bring Jordan Montgomery to the mound in the second game of the series. “Monty” is a lefty that is 5-6 with an ERA of 3.63 with 149 strikeouts. Montgomery has pitched much better than the record would suggest; he has gotten little run support in his games. He was the Yankees winningest pitcher for a time but seemed to have tired adjusting to a 162 game season. The Yankees have lost his last three starts, although he got a season-high 12 strikeouts in his last outing against the Orioles.

Montgomery will face Dane Dunning, a righty that is 5-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 103 strikeouts. This will be Dunning’s 22 start of the season, and he is coming off a loss to the Boston Red Sox. He gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings of work. Dunning is a sinkerball pitcher that throws in three other pitches. He relies on getting ground-outs. Few Yankees have had much experience with him.

Wednesday, September 22, 7:05 pm EDT

Wednesday night’s starter for the Yankees will be Corey Kluber, building since his return from a three-month stint on the IL with a sore shoulder. He is 5-3 with an ERA of 3.68 and 76 strikeouts in 14 starts. He got the Yankees only no-hitter earlier in the season since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999. He is coming off his best start since that no-hitter when he shut out the Cleveland Indians 8-0. This will be the second time Kluber has faced his former team. In the first game, Kluber pitched a complete-game win.

Kluber will face the Rangers, Taylor Hearn. Hearn is a lefty that is 6-5 with an ERA of 4.52 and 87 strikeouts. Hearn had won two games in September but is coming off his worst game of the season when he gave up 7 earned runs in just 3.1 innings against the Chicago White Sox. Few Yankees have seen Hearn pitch.

Notes: The Yankees have sent down to Scranton both Luis Gil and Clarke Schmidt. But the Yankees could get some reinforcements as early as today. Joey Gallo is expected back from his sore neck, and 2018 pitching ace Luis Severino is expected to rejoin the team during this series, most likely working out of the bullpen.

All of the Texas Rangers games will be televised on the YES Network and Bally Sports Southwest. Tonight’s game will also be on the MLBN out of market.

Yankees: Nestor Cortes Jr.’s command was ‘on point’ as the pitcher keeps impressing

Right now, the New York Yankees have one mission: accumulate as many wins as they can. They are in the middle of an intense push for the playoffs, fighting with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox for two spots, with other teams lurking.

Fortunately, left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. was there to provide his best start of the season on Wednesday, as the Yankees held on to escape with a narrow 4-3 victory in the late innings.

Cortes Jr was majestic all night long: over 6.1 innings, he allowed only one run, three hits, and two walks, striking out a career-high 11 hitters in the Orioles’ lineup. Cortes has been a fantastic rescue project for Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake and has been a consistent source of quality innings all season long.

In 79.2 innings with the Yankees in 2021, Cortes Jr. has a brilliant 2.60 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, with 87 punchouts in his line.

The Yankees love his style

The left-hander said after the game that his command was the primary weapon in his outing, as it was “on point.” Command is perhaps more important than raw stuff, and the Yankees have made this clear to Cortes Jr. The team encourages him to change speeds, deliveries, angles, and use every trick in the back to keep batters off balance. Control and command are a vital part of this approach.

“I felt like my command was on point. I didn’t miss too much with my fastball, which really got me going. I also commanded the cutter well,” the pitcher said to SNY after the game, which took the Yankees to an 82-64 record, maintaining the three-way tie with the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

He also mentioned that working quickly has also helped him. “(The) defense stays alert when the pitcher works quick. I like to keep it going, keep the momentum,” he stated.

It’s part of his style, one that has brought him considerable success in 2021.

Yankees News: Gleyber Torres responds to losing shortstop job, Nestor Cortes continues to dominate

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

The New York Yankees are currently on a three-game winning streak as they try to retain their spot in the Wild Card. However, both Toronto and Boston emerged victorious on Wednesday, leaving the three teams in a tie at the top of the WC standings.

Both Boston and New York barely emerged victorious, as the Red Sox went into extra innings, eventually beating Seattle 9-4, and the Yankees required a 9th inning single by Brett Gardner to take the lead. However, there are changes and shifts being made to the Yankees team, especially with a lack of starting pitching talent currently available.

Thankfully, one of the team’s most underrated players, Nestor Cortes Jr., pitched 6.1 innings against Baltimore, allowing just three hits and one run, striking out 11 batters. Cortes currently holds a 2.60 ERA and has established himself as a primary starter for the team. The bullpen has struggled at times — Chad Green allowed two hits and two runs over 1.1 innings.

It required a bit of luck to steal a win from Baltimore on Wednesday, as Gardern’s single blooped into shallow left field in the pouring rain, making the play even more problematic.

The Yankees are making moves in the infield:

The Yankees have been experimenting with different combinations in the infield, as they have permanently moved Gleyber Torres back to second base. To supplement that move, the Yankees moved DJ LeMahieu to third base and Gio Urshela to shortstop. Torres admitted that he struggled at SS, and he would do whatever it takes for the team to win more games, even if that means changing positions. He’s made 18 errors this season at arguably the most important infield position, which has hurt the Yankees on multiple occasions.

“Everything for the team,” Torres said before Tuesday night’s game at the Baltimore Orioles. “I didn’t really do a good job at short. I made too many errors and I feel the way we are right now we can’t make any errors. So, I feel really good to move to second and I just want to be part of the team.”

With one more contest against Baltimore on Thursday evening, the Yankees will closely be watching Boston and Toronto, who continue to win as well. Jordan Montgomery will feature on the mound, hosting a 3.71 ERA over 138.1 innings pitched this year. He’s allowed 127 hits and struck out 137 batters. On the other side, Baltimore will start Chris Ellis, who has a 2.08 ERA this season but has only pitched a small sample size of 21.2 innings. This is a must-win game for the Yankees as they prepare to host Cleveland on Friday night.