The New York Yankees‘ pitching has very much been the biggest positive of their 2022 season thus far.
Between the bullpen being as good as advertised (for the most part), Luis Severino sporting a 2.08 ERA through three starts and Nestor Cortes proving 2021 wasn’t just a flash in the pan, fans have a lot to feel good about.
That says a lot given all the questions surrounding Gerrit Cole, but let’s focus on the positives. After all, Cole isn’t taking the mound again until tomorrow.
After Jameson Taillon and Michael King combined to allow one run and strikeout 13 Guardians over eight innings in Friday’s series-opener, the pressure was on Nestor Cortes to continue shoving after his gem vs the Orioles.
As expected, Cortes mowed through Cleveland’s lineup at will early on. It was almost surprising when the Guardians put the ball in play.
In the fourth inning, Steven Kwan did just that, stroking a sharp ground ball to first that pulled Anthony Rizzo off the bag. Too far away to get back in time, Cortes found himself in a race with Cleveland’s left fielder.
There was only going to be one winner.
Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes laid it all on the line against the Guardians.
Are you serious? First an immaculate inning. Now, Cortes is executing full-stretch dives to beat runners to first base? Is there anything he can’t do?
Probably not, but as it turns out, Cortes is human. After making it through his first two starts without allowing a run over 9.1 innings, the Guardians made the 27-year-old pay after he issued a one-out walk in the fifth inning as Josh Naylor parked a hanging slider into the right field bleachers to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Of course, one blemish takes nothing away from Cortes’ highlight reel defensive play just minutes earlier. Assuming the beloved lefty settles down and the Yankees bats give him some support (it’s already 2-2 after the fifth inning) Cortes will be in line for his first win of the season.
That’d be nothing less than he deserves given how incredible this hustle play was and how he’s pitched over two-plus starts in 2022.