nestor cortes yankees
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Two weeks ago, Yankees manager Aaron Boone appeared on “The Show” with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. He quite definitively said Gerrit Cole would be his Game 1 starter in the postseason. But now it seems like Nestor Cortes has a shot at taking those honors from New York’s high-priced ace.

In direct contrast to what Boone said in the middle of September, pitching coach Matt Blake shared that the Yankees haven’t mapped out their postseason plan just yet. The two reasons behind this included wanting to see how the rotation finished the regular season, as well as see who they’ll be playing in the ALDS.

When asked about Cortes deserving to be in this conversation, Cole said all the right things (quotes via New York Post):

There’s certainly some merit to that…I just want to win. We haven’t talked about it, but I’m not assuming anything. I’m not here to be the ‘Game 1 guy’ and be worried about that. I’m just here to do my job. Whatever they ask me to do.

From what we’ve seen with Cole, whether he starts in Game 1, Game 2, or another game probably isn’t a huge deal…as long as the game starts on time. Pitchers are creatures of habit, so Cole starting in Game 1 probably matters less to him than simply knowing when he’s going to pitch.

This is a great series of events for Nasty Nestor, who has put together a tremendous campaign for the Yankees. Through 158.1 innings, the left-handed hurler has posted a 2.44 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, a 26.5% strikeout rate, and a 6.2% walk rate. Opposing hitters have posted just a .188 batting average against him this year.

As for Cole, his 2022 campaign has been mostly consistent with what he’s done in past years for New York. Through 194.2 innings, the right-hander owns a 3.51 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP, a 32.2% strikeout rate, and a 6.5% walk rate. Cole’s 248 strikeouts are tied for the most in a season in Yankees history, but he’s also surrendered a career-high 32 home runs.

Cole has accumulated 3.1 fWAR this season, while Nestor Cortes has posted 3.6 fWAR in fewer innings.

Whether the left-hander actually gets the nod for Game 1 of the ALDS or not, it’s great that the Yankees are at least thinking about it. Many things go into making a decision like this. However, Cortes has been the best and most consistent starter in the Bronx in 2022. He deserves to be in consideration for this honor.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.