After taking the rubber match of their three-game set against the formerly-crosstown Giants yesterday, the Yankees will begin a series tonight with the Phillies, their 2009 World Series opponents. The Yankees shut the Giants out twice and will turn to Nestor Cortes to keep their momentum going on the pitching side.
Despite a late start to spring training due to a hamstring tweak, the crafty Cortes went four innings and tossed 74 pitches in his final spring training tuneup, so he should be pretty stretched out. The lefty will be thrust into the No. 2 starter role early on in the wake of injuries to Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino, and tonight’s matchup against the reigning National League champions and last season’s 10th-best offense (by wRC+) will be an early test of his ability to hold down that spot.
Taijuan Walker, whom the Phillies brought in as a free agent this offseason, will toe the slab opposite Cortes. Walker was solid last year, notching a 3.49 ERA and 3.65 FIP in 29 starts for the Mets, and he pitched well for Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic. But in his last Grapefruit League appearance a week ago, his velocity was down significantly across the board. If that remains the case, the Yankees’ bats should jump all over him.
That would be especially welcome news for Franchy Cordero, who’ll be making his first start in pinstripes. The 28-year-old split time at first and in the outfield for the rival Red Sox over the last two seasons; he’ll be starting in right and batting sixth tonight. His corner-outfield counterpart, Aaron Hicks, will also be making his first start of the season. Yesterday, in an interview with The Athletic, the switch-hitter expressed frustration with his ambiguous role to start the season. Tonight, he’ll look to air out those grievances, hitting seventh in the lineup.
Elsewhere in the starting nine, New York deploys an infield of Anthony Rizzo at first, Gleyber Torres at second, Anthony Volpe at shortstop, and DJ LeMahieu at third with Josh Donaldson on the bench and Giancarlo Stanton at DH. The presence of both Cordero and Hicks in the lineup also means that Oswaldo Cabrera gets his first night off, while Jose Trevino returns behind the dish after sitting out Sunday’s matinee. There’s also that No. 99 fella out in right.
How to watch:
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV broadcast: YES Network, MLB Network
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online Stream: MLB.tv