For New York Yankees fans, the pitcher they call “Nasty Nestor” has become an incredibly unexpected ace.
Nestor Cortes Jr. did it again on Monday, completely dismantling the Texas Rangers in another masterful pitching performance.
The left-hander pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit (in the eighth inning) and four walks.
11 Rangers hitters went down on strikes.
The Yankees ended up winning 1-0, their 20th victory of the 2022 MLB season.
They have been the American League’s best team and they have Cortes to thank for many of those wins.
The southpaw is, after his stellar outing, 1-1 with a 1.41 ERA in 32 innings.
In those 32 frames, he has struck out 42 and accumulated a 0.97 WHIP.
Cortes Is Having A Breakout Party
He is on a completely different level right now, and this stat by Katie Sharp pretty much confirms it.
“Nestor Cortes Jr is the 1st pitcher in Yankees history with at least 40 K and 6 runs or fewer allowed in his first 6 games of the season,” Sharp tweeted.
Nestor Cortes Jr is the 1st pitcher in Yankees history with at least 40 K and 6 runs or fewer allowed in his first 6 games of the season.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 9, 2022
That’s incredible, considering that lots of amazing pitchers have wore the pinstripes: Lefty Gomez, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Masahiro Tanaka, Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, and many more.
All of them had better careers than Cortes, or at least so far, but none of them had a minimum of 40 punchouts and six runs or fewer in their first six starts.
The most amazing thing is that Cortes doesn’t have overpowering velocity, at all.
He relies on deception, changing speeds, a devastating cutter, and four additional pitches to succeed.
It will be fascinating to see how long can Cortes keep this level of utter dominance.