Nestor Cortes probably shouldn't have handed Red Sox ammunition before Yankees series

New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Not the ... not the best day for a Nestor Cortes quote to drop that effectively calls the Boston Red Sox "mid" in recent years.

Honestly, it's not the best season for Nestor to get publicly quoted about who does or does not look like themselves lately.

It's not the Yankees fan favorite's fault that he spoke to FOX MLB's Jake Mintz about the simmering New York-Boston rivalry earlier this season. We don't know when the quote was given. We do know what context the quote came in; he was likely asked why the Yankees' rivalry with the Red Sox doesn't feel quite so intense these days, considering that was the thesis of the piece.

And plenty of Yankees and Sox players spoke on it! Red Sox infielder Christian Arroyo said he loves Jake Bauers and Franchy Cordero and can't stay mad at them. Anthony Volpe admitted his mom stopped hating the Red Sox around the same time Mookie Betts showed up, once they shed all those bearded, detestable "idiots."

But ... (sigh) ... it's Cortes' quote that has gone viral, because of course it has. Hand up if you'd be shocked to learn the Red Sox plan to use the left-hander's quote for motivation this weekend.

Yankees starter Nestor Cortes downplays Red Sox before rivalry showdown

Cortes won't be participating in this series; his IL stint to rehabilitate a shoulder issue officially began on Thursday.

The Sox will, though, and despite their relentless march towards .500 this season, Alex Cora would be the first in line to remind Cortes that things got pretty intense back in 2021, too. Remember? Sox went to the ALCS? Eliminated Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card Game? Chad Green blew a save with two outs in the ninth at Fenway? The Domingo Germán near-no-hitter game, also blown by the Bombers? Brooks Kriske?!

It wasn't exactly 2004, but still. Boston took hold of the rivalry and the American League playoffs that season, and dealt the Yankees plenty of blows in the process.

The best thing to do, heading into the first Sox showdown of the year without Aaron Judge, would be to make sure Justin Turner and the leaders in that locker room don't have a shred of bulletin board material for their next "players only" meeting. Unfortunately, they've now got a sliver -- and Cortes has a 5.16 ERA and an IL stint to think about next steps.

Hopefully, the Yankees take care of business without their Captain this weekend. But is there anything that Boston historically likes more than making noise when they have no business doing so, creating chips on their own shoulders? Here's another opportunity for those louts to make Volpe's mom hate them all over again.