The Yankees limp home from a 4-6 road trip having tied or lost all three series. Their starting lineup took a beating on the road, with Andrew Benintendi breaking the hamate bone in his right hand, requiring surgery. Next up they face the Twins for four games at Yankee Stadium, and here are the projected starting pitching matchups.
Monday: Jameson Taillon vs. Chris Archer, 1:05 P.M. EDT
Jameson Taillon was forced from his start against the Angels after getting struck in the forearm by a comebacker, however it looks like he and the Yankees dodged a bullet as he will not have to miss a start. After a shaky few starts in June and July, Taillon has now allowed three or fewer runs in eight of his last nine outings. In 26 starts, Taillon is 12-4 with a 3.97 ERA (97 ERA+), 4.09 FIP, and 117 strikeouts in 140.2 innings.
The Yankees get another crack at Chris Archer after he frustratingly held them to a run on two hits in five innings when he faced them earlier this year. He certainly has enjoyed pitching against the Yankees in his career — in 20 starts he’s pitched to a 3.03 ERA, 3.32 FIP, and 121:35 strikeout to walk ratio across 124.2 innings. He’s enjoying arguably his best campaign since he was traded from the Rays to the Pirates in 2018 having cut his home run rate almost in half since that season. In 23 starts, Archer is 2-7 with a 4.52 ERA (84 ERA+), 4.29 FIP, and 81 strikeouts in 95.2 innings.
Tuesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Joe Ryan, 7:05 P.M. EDT
Gerrit Cole was cruising through his last start against the Angels until a pair of seventh-inning errors by Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa allowed Shohei Ohtani to win the game with a three-run blast. That said, he has looked better over his last five starts with a 2.16 ERA, though the struggles with the lone big inning continue to plague the Yankees ace. The slider continues to be a big weapon with a 45 percent whiff rate in July and August, though that is the pitch that the Twins teed off on in that infamous five home run game in June. In 27 starts, Cole is 10-7 with a 3.28 ERA (117 ERA+), and 3.22 FIP while leading the AL in strikeouts (204) and innings (164.2).
Joe Ryan is having an admirable rookie campaign with a 3.88 ERA, though that becomes an even more respectable 3.25 when you take away his horror inning-eater outing against the Padres when he gave up 10 runs. Drafted by the Rays in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft and traded to Minnesota for Nelson Cruz in 2021, Ryan actually debuted for the Twins at the end of last season but retained his rookie status through this year. He throws a fastball in the low-90s while employing a slider against righties and a changeup against lefties. In 22 starts, Ryan is 10-7 with a 3.88 ERA (98 ERA+), 4.28 FIP, and 121 strikeouts in 118.1 innings.
Wednesday: Domingo Germán vs. Sonny Gray, 7:05 P.M. EDT
Domingo Germán was well on his way to a dominant outing last time out against the Rays until a seventh inning two-run homer put a bit of a damper on things. Still, he’s been quite effective since his nightmare season debut against the Astros, allowing three or fewer runs in each of the eight starts since. The curveball has been his go-to putaway pitch, registering strikeout and whiff rates north of 30 percent. In nine starts, Germán in 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA (124 ERA+), 4.32 FIP, and 32 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Sonny Gray is expected to face his old team on Wednesday, however the situation is fluid after the 32-year-old exited his last start with a hamstring injury. He was in the midst of a bounceback campaign relative to the last two seasons, having exchanged some strikeouts for a much better walk rate. He’s also added significant movement to the cutter, slider, and curveball, the cutter in particular exhibiting the most horizontal movement vs. average of any cutter in baseball. In 21 starts, Gray is 7-4 with a 3.10 ERA (123 ERA+), 3.43 FIP, and 101 strikeouts in 104.2 innings.
Thursday: TBD vs. TBD, 7:05 P.M. EDT
Neither team has announced an official starter for the series finale. This would be Clarke Schmidt’s regular spot in the rotation. He doesn’t appear to be completely built up to a full starter’s load, having completed 4.1 innings in each of his two starts since his most recent call-up while having his pitch count held below 65 in four of his last five multi-inning big league appearances. In 19 games (three starts), Schmidt is 5-4 with a 3.02 ERA (128 ERA+), 3.43 FIP, and 38 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
However, it’s since been reported that Nestor Cortes is on schedule to return from injury in time to start Thursday’s contest. The lefty landed on the 15-day IL retroactive to August 22nd with a groin strain. The Yankees will be thrilled to have arguably their best starting pitcher of the season back, and this two-week hiatus may have been a blessing in disguise for the southpaw having blown past his previous career-highs in starts and innings pitched. In 23 starts, Cortes is 9-4 with a 2.68 ERA (144 ERA+), 3.41 FIP, and 133 strikeouts in 131 innings.
Tyler Mahle would be the regularly-scheduled starter, however he exited his start on Saturday with pain in the same shoulder that forced him out of his previous start and landed him on the IL for two-and-a-half weeks. It was particularly worrying to see the fastball almost five mph slower than his season average. In his place, Aaron Sanchez could get the nod after relieving Mahle on Saturday. Sanchez started the season with the Nationals before being DFA’d in May with an 8.33 ERA. Since joining the Twins and having his contract selected August 1st, he’s cut his ERA by keeping the ball in the ballpark while doubling his strikeouts. In 11 appearances (10 starts), Sanchez is 3-4 with a 6.98 ERA (56 ERA+), 4.69 FIP, and 34 strikeouts in 49 innings.