It can play, right?
Nestor Cortes’ superpowers don’t have to be limited to taking these Yankees out of a funk and hauling them through October. Who said this companion couldn’t set them off until a parade?
The astute southpaw wove even more dreams on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, twirling seven masterful innings to lead his club to a rare, 10-2 victory laugh over the Punching Bag Twins. It was the Yankees’ eighth consecutive victory and the 30th in 41 tries. That stretch began in the Bronx on July 4, the second game of a Subway Series doubles program against the Mets, when Cortes made his first start of the season and limited the cross-bridge rivals to one run on 3 ¹ / ₃ innings in a 4-2 victory for the Yankees.
This is what we in the comic book industry (no, I’m not really in the comic book industry) call an “origin story”.
And whether you prefer “The Hialeah Kid” or “Nasty Nestor” as a handle (the latter becomes a favorite t-shirt, complete with the mustached caricature, worn by his teammates during pre-match batting practices), Cortes wears it. will have some. fictional creation when you combine the secret of its success with its very modest beginnings.
“All of a sudden when you get a shirt like this, it’s like you’ve finally made it,” Cortes said.
“He goes out there and he’s fearless,” said DJ LeMahieu.
36th-round selection for the Yankees in the 2013 entry draft, Cortes was selected by the Orioles in the 2017 rule 5 draft. He was fired to the Yankees in April 2018, traded by the Yankees to Seattle in November 2019 and released. by the Mariners last October. If the Yankees didn’t know what they had (How could they, after he posted a 5.67 ERA in 33 appearances for them as a loose guy of 2019?), Thanks to them for l ‘have resumed twice, the second time last January.
Because this time it’s a completely different launcher. His fast ball speed jumped a mile per hour from his 2019 average of 89.5. He throws his curved ball more often than before, and it’s radically different terrain, his vertical movement sacrificed in favor of the horizontal.
“In spring training I wanted something bigger, something bigger,” he said. “The Yankees pitching team helped me try to create this pitch. “
Add in increased speed for his fastball as well as his legal chicane on the court – the various lunge for the arms, quick throws and the like – and you start to understand how this guy, who started the season with a career ERA of 6.72 in the major leagues, wears a 2.56 this season after setting a career-high with his seven frames and tying another with his seven strikeouts.
“He’s doing a hell of a job,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He throws a little bit of speed at the start of the count, but then he’s got enough fastball and enough deception on his fastball to sneak it up and make it work. He’s coming from a little different angle, because the guys don’t look comfortable in the box.
“He really pitched. It is not surprising how he has had his success. … Looks like he has a pretty good idea of what’s going on right now. The material looks good, even better than I expected.
Said Aaron Judge, who contributed a homer (as did LeMahieu and the resurgent Luke Voit), “Every throw is stressful when he’s working his magic over there on the mound.”
The Yankees will be hoping to have Corey Kluber back in their starting rotation soon, and possibly Domingo German as well, two more playoff starting options to join Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery. Cortes might not resist this game of Survivor.
How about having him in the bullpen, ready to unleash like a multi-handed weapon? It sounds tantalizing to the Yankees. It’s hard to see Cortes getting swallowed by the stakes, given what he’s already overcome.
“Obviously, to get into the big leagues, I’ll take whatever I can… as long as I’m here and we’re winning games,” Cortes said.
Nasty, but selfless. It’s a great combination for an unsung hero who has more to offer.