After a thrilling win in extras last night, their second such victory in three games, the Yankees will try to extend their season-high five-game win streak in another Bronx bout with Baltimore. The game was perhaps closer than it had to be, given the Yankees’ failure to wave Gleyber Torres home in the seventh on an Anthony Rizzo single and then a subsequent confounding DJ LeMahieu bunt attempt, but a win’s a win. There’s some rain in the forecast, but there’s been no indication of a delay so far and the storms should subside by around 10 at the latest.
Nestor Cortes will be responsible for starting the Yankees’ quest for an extended win streak on the right foot. In his previous outing against the Blue Jays, the left-hander went more than five innings for the first time since April 20. During his short-start stretch, Cortes pitched to an 8.53 ERA, managing just 19 innings across four starts while navigating an illness that required a few extra days of rest between two of those appearances. That rough period tarnished his numbers on the season, but the shifty southpaw demonstrated what he’s capable of when healthy last week, notching six Ks while allowing just two runs and one walk through six frames against the league’s (tied for) sixth-best offense by wRC+.
On the other hand, Baltimore’s starting staff has pitched to a 4.81 ERA and 4.74 FIP, both 21st in the league, but they’ll be sending out their top performer on the season tonight in Tyler Wells. At the same time, while the right-hander has a 2.94 ERA, he’s benefitted from some apparent luck: his .163 BABIP and 89.3 percent strand rate rank lowest and second-highest, respectively, among pitchers with at least 50 innings thus far. xERA, Baseball Savant’s predictive metric, still sees him as a solid pitcher due to his popup prowess (the fourth-highest rate among that same group), but more of a high-3s true-talent ERA pitcher than what his numbers show now.
The Yankees’ offense, with a league-leading 27 homers over the past 14 days, will hope to jumpstart Wells’ impending regression tonight. Gleyber Torres will man the keystone and lead off for the 10th time in the past 12 days. Aaron Judge, the main reason why the Yankees have put up such gaudy home run numbers of late, will hit second and play right field. Anthony Rizzo, who along with Judge held up the celebratory ice bath for Anthony Volpe last night, will hit third and play first.
As for last night’s hero Volpe, he’ll hit seventh and captain the infield as usual. Since relinquishing the leadoff spot, he’s hit for a 117 wRC+ in 11 games. Elsewhere in the lineup, Harrison Bader, who homered early last night, will man center and hit fifth. Jake Bauers will follow him, getting a turn at DH and hitting sixth. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will get some more outfield reps, playing left and hitting eighth. Kyle Higashioka, atop the depth chart at catcher with Jose Trevino on the IL, will be behind the plate and hit ninth.
Cortes, meanwhile, will face a tough task from the get-go, as Cedric Mullins will lead things off for the O’s. The center fielder has two homers over his last three contests, and he notched five hits (including two doubles) in the one game he didn’t go long. Franchise cornerstone Adley Rutschman gets a half-night off, batting second and DH’ing. His OBP stands at an even .400.
After those top two, it doesn’t get much easier. Lefty-crushing first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, whose 185 wRC+ against southpaws this season is tied for eighth in the league (min. 50 PAs), slots into the three-hole. Switch-hitting right fielder Anthony Santander, not far behind Mountcastle with a 171 wRC+ against lefties on the season, will clean things up. Austin Hays, manning the other outfield corner, presents another right-handed problem for the lefty Cortes. He’s running career-highs in barrel and hard-hit rate, and he’ll be hitting fifth.
That’s when there might finally be a reprieve, as the bottom four consists of lefty Adam Frazier and light hitters including backup catcher James McCann (no relation to Brian), former Yankees farmhand Jorge Mateo, and recently-recalled prospect Joey Ortiz (playing in just his 11th major-league game). But Cortes will certainly be hard-pressed to get through that top five a third time.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
7:05 pm ET 8:40 pm ET
TV broadcast: Amazon Prime Video – NYY / MASN – BAL
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv
Please be advised that tonight's game will not start on time. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 24, 2023
This game will begin in a delay and the tarp is on the field. We’ll keep you posted as we hear updates.
Please be advised first pitch is scheduled for 8:40 p.m.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 24, 2023