Many things are clicking for the New York Yankees, who have the best record in the majors, and perhaps no area is succeeding as consistently as their starting pitching.
And the starter highlighting New York’s impressive performances is left-hander Nestor Cortes, who will get the ball Wednesday night when the Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels and seek another series victory.
The Yankees have won at least 34 of their first 49 games for the 11th time in team history and for the first time since the 114-win team opened 37-12 in 1998.
New York’s pitchers own a 2.91 ERA, which is third in the majors behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, after Jordan Montgomery allowed four hits and pitched seven innings of one-run ball in Tuesday’s 9-1 win over the Angels.
Montgomery’s outing marked the 23rd time a Yankees starter allowed two runs or less and the 30th time a New York starter allowed three runs or less.
“It’s been huge,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of his standout rotation. “For them to be as consistent as they have and go deep in the games has been big, especially as we’ve had a couple of guys banged up in the bullpen. So for the starters to really kind of carry that load –especially as that first month they were getting built up — has been enormous for us.”
Cortes (4-1, 1.70 ERA) has helped the cause by ascending to the top of the AL pitching leaderboards. He is second in the league in ERA behind Texas’ Martin Perez, and his 0.85 WHIP is second in the league behind Houston’s Justin Verlander.
Cortes has allowed three runs or less in 18 straight starts. His latest stellar outing was Thursday in Tampa Bay when he allowed one run on four hits in a career-high eight-plus innings in a 7-2 win. Cortes threw a career-high 109 pitches and retired 14 in a row at one point.
Cortes is making his first career start against the Angels after posting a 5.40 ERA in four relief appearances, including a pair of scoreless outings last June in New York.
The Angels head into Wednesday’s game on a season-high six-game losing streak and are 3-10 in their past 13 games. Luis Rengifo homered for their only run Tuesday while Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout were a combined 1-for-8.
One of those outs by Ohtani was a leaping catch by Aaron Judge at the center-field wall two batters in, and that seemed to set the tone for another frustrating showing by the Angels, will likely will make a bullpen move after Kenny Rosenberg pitched five innings after starter Noah Syndergaard lasted 2 1/3 innings.
“You have to have one thought, I think,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Either you trust your people or you don’t. Either you like your guys or you don’t. I trust my guys a lot. Fortunately, we got off to a wonderful start so that you could kind of absorb a moment like this.”
Left-hander Reid Detmers (2-2, 4.65 ERA) will make his third start since throwing a no-hitter May 10 against Tampa Bay. Since his no-hitter, Detmers has a 7.45 ERA in two starts against the Texas Rangers, who tagged him for five runs in six innings last Wednesday.
–Field Level Media