Coming into the series, it seemed the most likely outcome was a bookend split — Gerrit Cole is as good as it gets in baseball this season, the middle two starters were technically MLB pitchers, and Nestor Cortes set you up well for Sunday. So far that’s exactly what happened, with the number-two-who-should-be-number-one getting the ball against the Rangers with a split on the line.
Cortes isn’t off to quite as good a run as last year, with a 3.49 ERA and 3.61 FIP, although he’s taken command of the strike zone over the past three games. In two outings against Minnesota and one against the Angels, he’s struck out more than 27 percent of batters faced, more than a tick above his usual. The Rangers have an OK, but not great, lineup, and bringing that kind of swing-and-miss potential should spell good things for Nestor.
Pérez, meanwhile, continues to be just about the most underrated pitcher in baseball, with a sterling 2.85 ERA since Opening Day 2022. He’s one of those command pitchers who works around the edge of the zone without a ton of strikeouts, so he’s never going to be the type with a low FIP or correspondingly high fWAR. He might, however, be the kind of starter who makes fans grind their teeth down, as every ball in play ends up a soft fly ball or two-hopper to an infielder.
Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza find themselves hitting 1-2 in the lineup. Peraza hasn’t quite dazzled in his call-up, but Volpe seemed to take moving up in the lineup to heart, and maybe his fellow rookie will do the same.
How to watch
Location: Globe Life Field — Arlington, TX
First pitch: 2:35 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES – NYY / Bally Sports Southwest Extra - TEX
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280 / 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Online stream: MLB.tv