I don’t know if the Twins are the cure for what ails the Yankees, but they’ve certainly been able to treat the club’s symptoms this week. New York has won all three of the previous games in this series, sweeping a doubleheader yesterday, and can continue their near-farcical dominance of the Twinkies tonight behind Nestor Cortes.
All season long, Cortes and Gerrit Cole have gone back and forth as the nominal Yankee ace, and Nestor will now be asked to follow Cole’s 14-strikeout performance last night. He’s making his first start since returning from the IL with a bum hamstring, but his 2.68 ERA and 3.40 FIP on the season should make us all confident that he can handle the Twins tonight. He did, however, have a mediocre start against Minnesota back in June, going 4.1 innings and allowing four runs on a pair of long balls.
Manager Aaron Boone did say that Cortes will be on a pitch count tonight for his first start in two and a half weeks, so keep an eye out for that. The bullpen will probably factor in, and Clarke Schmidt is available if needed.
Sonny Gray is a familiar face for Yankee fans, but he’s taken major steps forward this season since being traded from Cincinnati in the offseason. He’s shaved down his walk rate in three straight seasons, He doesn’t strike out as many batters as he used to, but an increased ability to manage contact and induce ground balls and soft popups has served him well this year.
The Yankees are sending quite the odd lineup on Thursday night, with Aaron Hicks leading off and Isiah Kiner-Falefa batting cleanup after two homers earlier in this series. Rookie Oswald Peraza and Estevan Florial are in, but Oswaldo Cabrera will be on the bench. Jose Trevino also gets the night off after catching 12 innings yesterday. Marwin Gonzalez starts again at first base and with DJ LeMahieu now on the IL, the recently-recalled Miguel Andújar will DH.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 7:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES, Bally Sports North, TBS
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380
Online stream: MLB.tv