MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Nestor Cortes’ journey through the majors is not one you’d immediately expect from a Game 2 starter in the ALDS. Originally selected by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, he has bounced around the major and minor league teams of three different organizations. He’s actually in his third stint with the Yankees, having first been lost in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft and then traded for international bonus pool money after his second stint in 2018-19.
Cortes worked tirelessly to reinvent himself as a pitcher, and though a lot of the narrative focuses on his funky windups and varied deliveries, most of his success owes to the fact that he throws an elite four-seamer and cutter that were refined over hundreds if not thousands of hours in the lab. It’s all culminated in his first All-Star appearance, a 2022 campaign that saw him finish with the lowest regular season ERA by a Yankees starter since Ron Guidry’s Cy Young Award-winning campaign in 1978, and being named Game 2 starter in the ALDS.
MLB.com | Bill Ladson: Jonathan Loáisiga entered in relief of Gerrit Cole with one out in the seventh inning and a runner on first, and ended up escaping the frame by inducing a double play. The Yankees’ ace reliever from a season ago endured shoulder issues and a rough stretch to begin the season before finishing it out strong with a 1.76 ERA across his final 31 appearances. He credited a slight mechanical adjustment in his shoulder positioning as the key to getting healthy and throwing the way he did in 2021. Given the injury absences of many key contributors in the bullpen, Loáisiga is going to be a vital piece for the Yankees as they look to win their first World Series in 13 years.
USA Today | Pete Caldera: Leading off the fifth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS with the scorestied at one, Josh Donaldson lined a ball to right that bounced off the very top of the wall and back into play. Thinking it was a home run, Donaldson went into his trot and was tagged out between first and second. It’s far from the first time this exact episode has played out, with Donaldson being thrown out multiple times during the regular season after pimping a fly ball and not hustling out of the box. Aaron Boone revealed that he had not spoken with his third baseman about the incident, so fingers crossed we do not get a repeat later in the series.
MLB.com | Betelhem Ashame: Harrison Bader grew up a Yankees fan, so what better way to club his first home run in pinstripes than a game-tying shot in Game 1 of the ALDS? He became the sixth New Yorker to homer in a postseason game for the Yankees and fulfilled a childhood dream in doing so. There may have been question marks about the move that brought him to the Yankees — Jordan Montgomery was pitching well while Bader was in a walking boot — but it’s fair to say Bader has put that uncertainty to bed with the home run and his stellar defensive work in center. To use Bader’s own words, the Bronxville kid “showed... why [he] earned the uniform.”