The past few weeks have featured some sensational Yankees baseball, and over the past two games in Toronto, they’ve demonstrated that they weren’t just beating up on lesser foes. The Blue Jays are a tough ballclub, and entering this series, they’d gone 34-15 (.694) at the Rogers Centre after returning to Toronto last July. The Yankees just beat them there in back-to-back games, and now they’ll try to make it a clean sweep. Remarkably, it’d be their fourth sweep in a row and 12th straight win after previously downing the Guardians, Orioles, and Royals.
Nestor Cortes takes the mound in Toronto tonight, which will actually be his first Rogers Centre appearance since a relief outing on September 15, 2019. In more recent work, he faced the Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 12th, when he shut Toronto out over 4.1 innings in his first appearance of 2022. He was on a pitch count then after the abbreviated spring training, but now, we’ll get #NestorUnleashed.
The mustachioed southpaw earned AL Pitcher of the Month votes after a brilliant April that saw him record a 1.31 ERA, 1.43 FIP, 0.871 WHIP, and 12.2 K/9 across four starts (though Seattle’s Logan Gilbert won the honor). It will be a tough task to blank the Jays again, but it wouldn’t be the first time that Nestor exceeded expectations, that's for sure.
Opposing Cortes will be the same man who faced him on April 12th: former Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi. The free agent signing did not fare well in his Toronto debut against the Yankees, who tagged him with a loss after three runs on five hits, two walks, and an Aaron Hicks homer in 3.1 innings. Kikuchi rebounded with a better second start in Boston, but Houston roughed him up in back-to-back appearances prior to tonight.
Although Kikuchi’s overall numbers are unsightly (5.52 ERA, 6.63 FIP), he was a 2021 All-Star due to his strong first half in Seattle, so he dose have the capacity to figure it out. This is a tough lineup to face though, so ideally, the Yankees just repeat what they did a month ago.
Joey Gallo makes his return to the Yankees’ lineup tonight in left field after missing three games with a groin injury. The rest of the starting nine is fairly standard, with Kyle Higashioka taking his turn back behind the plate and the regular rest roulette wheel hitting Gleyber Torres (DJ LeMahieu will man second).
Let’s go Yankees, and let’s make it 12 in a row!
How to watch:
Location: Rogers Centre — Toronto, ON
First pitch: 7:07 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES Network, Sportsnet
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv