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New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros: Nestor Cortes vs. Justin Verlander

Nasty Nestor is back on the mound!

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Yankees have split the first two games of this series with the Astros, and today’s game could blossom into a premier pitching matchup, even if half of that matchup hasn’t actually taken an MLB mound in two months. We’ve seen what Nestor Cortes can do at his actual All-Star best, and while we haven’t seen that so far this year, maybe the rehab from a bum rotator cuff has solved some of the issues that were plaguing his control and command earlier in the year.

On the season, Cortes’ ERA sits at 5.16 and he’s been particularly vulnerable the longer he goes in games. Opponents log a .506 OPS against him the first time through, .640 the second time, and an unfathomable 1.521 the third time — a good indicator to me that his shoulder problem was fairly chronic and sapping him of energy. Fittingly, the Yankees are going to limit him to around 60 pitches (he was supposed to have one more rehab start but Domingo Germán’s move to the restricted list bumped up the timeline), so hopefully there’s little to no chance any Astro sees him three times today.

Opposing him will be deadline pickup Justin Verlander, who we’ve all seen enough that I don’t need to go into him in detail. He took some time to adjust in Queens, with a 4.80 ERA in April, before finding his stride and notching a 1.69 ERA in 37.1 innings in July. In a lot of ways his 2023 season mirrors his 2017 campaign and...well, we know how that ended.

Fortunately, the game is back on YES and Aaron Judge is back in the lineup.

How to watch

Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY

First pitch: 1:05 pm ET

TV broadcast: YES — NYY | AT&T Sportsnet — HOU | MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280 (NYY)/KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3 / KLAT 1010 (HOU)

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