Yankees: Nestor Cortes has earned a Game 2 playoff start


What a shame. Nestor Cortes Jr.’s career-best performance on Wednesday night was overshadowed by the ineptitude of Gleyber Torres and Chad Green, which caused the game to devolve into chaos before the New York Yankees eventually walked it off.

Before the game got out of hand and flipped the narrative, Cortes Jr. twirled 6.1 innings of one-run ball. He allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters.

You might say, “Yeah, against the Orioles”, but have you been watching the Yankees in 2021? The O’s have played them arguably the toughest they’ve played anyone. There’s no free win against Baltimore (as sad as that sounds).

And even if you’re going up against the league’s worst team, your job is to dominate them, right? Well, Cortes did that! Counts for something, right?

At this point, fans would agree the crafty lefty is the most reliable starting pitcher behind Gerrit Cole. About a month ago, we lobbied for Cortes to secure a permanent spot in the rotation.

Now? It’s time to start the chatter about him earning a Game 2 playoff start, should the Yankees make it to October.


Nestor Cortes’ recent run has earned him a Game 2 playoff start for the Yankees.

In 11 starts this year, Cortes is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. He’s got 59 strikeouts in those 60 innings of work. He’s holding opponents to a .213 batting average and .657 OPS.

None of that is flukey, either. His starts have come against the Mets, Astros, Rays, Mariners, Royals, White Sox, Athletics, Twins, Blue Jays and Orioles. He’s allowed more than two earned runs in just two of those outings.

Unfortunately for the Yanks, Jordan Montgomery has been far too unreliable when the Yankees need a nails outing (even though he’s gotten the worst run support of any starter); Jameson Taillon is far too inconsistent; and it’s hard to trust Corey Kluber to give you six quality postseason innings at the moment.

Not to mention, Cortes’ arsenal and funky delivery is the perfect change-of-pace option to follow Gerrit Cole, whose arguably the best power pitcher in the game right now. That’s another shrewd way the Yankees can gain an advantage in October.

Fans are well aware they’ll need every edge they can get, and right now manager Aaron Boone has to realize Cortes is his unquestioned No. 2 starter if the Bombers sneak in as a Wild Card team and make it to the ALDS. It’s time to reward players for their hard work — something the Yankees really haven’t done this year.