Home runs and strong pitching allowed the New York Yankees to take care of business against the last-place Baltimore Orioles last night. With their Wild Card rivals playing well this afternoon, they’ll have to keep up that quality play tonight and secure an important series win as we enter the home stretch of this intense rollercoaster season.
Néstor Cortes Jr. (2-2, 2.70 ERA, 3.80 FIP) will get the ball for the Bombers, making his 11th start of the season (19th overall appearance). Cortes has been nothing short of a revelation this season, limiting opposing lineups to three runs or fewer in nine of his ten starts; in recent weeks, he has even been able to provide length as well, working into the sixth inning in his last six outings. Nasty Néstor last faced his former team just under two weeks ago, on September 3rd, striking out seven and allowing only one run in 5.2 innings, while last time out, he kept the potent Blue Jays lineup to only two runs in six innings.
Opposing him will be Baltimore ace John Means (5-7, 3.42 ERA, 4.57 FIP), a repeat of September 3rd’s matchup. In that outing, Means largely stifled the Yankees hitters, allowing two runs on just three hits in five innings, striking out five and walking two. After struggling upon his return from the injured list towards the end of July, he has bounced back to form in his last four starts, posting a 3.33 ERA (3.86 FIP) and limiting opponents to a .198/.247/.372 slash line. It’s shaping up to be a pitchers’ duel, so don’t be surprised if we get a shootout instead.
The Yankees will be sending a fairly standard lineup out there tonight, and by fairly standard, I mean that Joey Gallo will be on the bench despite homering in back-to-back games and three times since last Friday, a move which is fairly standard for these Yankees. Gleyber Torres in the six spot is also a bit higher than I would like, though I’m not going to lie, I’m not exactly sure who I would swap with him, as Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela have been inconsistent at best of late, and I wouldn’t be thrilled with Brett Gardner there either.
How to watch
Location: Camden Yards - Baltimore, MD
First pitch: 7:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES Network, MASN
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.TV