The Yankees wrapped up their series against the Rays with two very important wins. Not only did they did they add some much needed breathing room in the AL East standings, but the double-digit runs they scored in both games had to have felt good for an offense that’s struggled recently. Including the previous series against the Twins, it was a 5-2 week, all five wins of which were important.
However, that week is in the books, and next up is another AL East opponent, albeit one at the other end of the standings. Tonight, the Yankees are set to open up a series in Boston, as they match up with the Red Sox for a pair of games. On paper, this should be a chance for the more wins, but games aren’t played on paper and things are never easy in this rivalry.
Before things get started tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.
Tuesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Nick Pivetta (7:10 PM ET)
Ever since a late July/early August swoon, Cole has been pretty great, putting up a 2.03 ERA in his last 40 innings across six starts. However, he’s had less than stellar results against Boston so far this season, putting up a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings. It should be noted that his most recent start against them was very solid, as he struck out 12 and allowed just two runs in seven innings back on July 17th.
Back on September 2nd, Pivetta left a game after just three innings with a calf injury. When he takes the mound tonight, it’ll be his second start since then, but it still could be something to keep an eye on. His start in between was pretty solid, but he only lasted five innings, with his pitch count going over 100. The Yankees’ offense has also very much had his number so far this year, getting him for 17 earned runs in 13.1 innings. That’s over a fifth of his earned runs on the season, in less than 10 percent of the innings he’s thrown. The Yankees alone are responsible for half a run on his 4.29 ERA.
Wednesday: Nestor Cortes vs. Brayan Bello (7:10 PM ET)
After missing over two weeks with a groin injury, Cortes returned last Thursday against the Twins. In his first start back, he allowed two runs on two hits in four innings before exiting due to a restricted pitch count. Going back to before the injury, his last truly down start came against Boston on July 8th, when he allowed four runs on eight hits in just 3.2 innings. That is the both the most hits and runs that Cortes has given up in the last couple months.
This will be the Yankees’ first ever look at Bello, who will be making his eighth MLB start and 10th appearance on Wednesday. He hasn’t been great so far, but his second to last start on September 3rd was his best so far, featuring six shutout innings against the Rangers. He followed that up with a solid effort again the Orioles. In total, Bello’s four most recent starts have shaved nearly two and a half runs off his ERA. Plus, as we know, the Yankees are always liable to have a less than brilliant performance when they see a pitcher for the first time.