NYY vs TEX: Nestor Cortes vs Jon Gray

It’s Monday, but to take the sting off of that and the dud of the loss in the second game yesterday, we have day baseball in the Bronx today. The Bombers take on the Texas Rangers again in the boogie down in the rubber match of their three-game series, before welcoming the Blue Jays back to New York tomorrow night.

But first, some trivia: Isiah Kiner-Falefa is tied for the team lead in defensive outs above average with two – with whom is he tied? (I’ll give you the answer in a minute…)

The Yankees can’t be caught looking ahead to the Toronto series, as they have a good opportunity to take another series and at the very least maintain their two-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East standings. To that end, they’ll be sending Nestor Cortes to the mound, looking for the win. As I’m sure you know, Cortes has been electric for the Yankees this season but he’s coming off his worst start of 2022 last Wednesday against Toronto. Nasty Nestor simply didn’t have his usual command and issued a very uncharacteristic four walks over four innings. But as I noted at the time, he’s been so good for the Yankees since joining the rotation last July that even when he’s bad, he’s not really bad as he left allowing only two runs over four innings, with a game score of 45.

Jon Gray, one of Texas’ relatively big off-season free agent signings will get the ball for the Rangers. Don’t be distracted by Gray’s 7.50 ERA, as he hasn’t pitched badly. Most of his underlying metrics have been about average so far in 2022 and his expected ERA is 3.78 – almost exactly half of his actual ERA – while his xFIP of 3.59 is also far lower than his actual FIP of 4.66. (Of course, he’s also been a good MLB pitcher for eight years, which is more important than a three-start sample size.) There aren’t many secrets with Gray, as he throws a four-seamer in the mid-90s and a slider almost 90 percent of the time, and he’s aggressive in the zone with both. Yankees batters certainly won’t have to look for him.

Speaking of Yankees batters, Aaron Hicks gets the day off today, Jose Trevino is back behind the plate and Giancarlo Stanton will be covering the right-field grass. Here’s the full lineup:

LeMahieu 3B
Judge CF
Rizzo 1B
Stanton RF
Donaldson DH
Torres 2B
Gallo LF
Kiner-Falefa SS
Trevino C

Nestor’s first pitch will be at 1:05 PM. You can catch the game on the YES Network, the MLB Network, and stream it on MLB.tv. If you prefer listening, you can hear it on WFAN 101.9/660, and WADO 1280. As always, follow along with me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and on the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.

Let’s make this a happy Monday, Yanks…

Trivia answer: Gleyber Torres is tied with IKF for the team lead in defensive outs above average.

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