Nestor Cortes stumbles in first inning and Yankees fumble 0-7 in Phoenix

Yankees' Nestor Cortes in action against the D-Backs in Phoenix on April 2, 2024.

Table of Contents

After going 5-0, the Yankees’ winning streak came to a halt on Tuesday night as Nestor Cortes mirrored his previous start, surrendering three runs in the first inning. Unlike the season opener, the Yankees’ bats remained silent and failed to come back, resulting in their first loss of the season.

Despite navigating the early part of the season without their ace Gerrit Cole, Cortes’ struggles in the opening frame have become a recurring theme. Filling in for the injured Cole on Opening Day, Cortes coughed up four runs in the first two innings, but the Yankees offense bailed him out to win against the formidable Houston Astros. Tuesday’s outing, originally slated for Cole’s return, followed a similar script.

Cole, currently sidelined with elbow inflammation but traveling with the team on their West Coast trip, offered some insights on Cortes’ struggles during a mic’d-up segment on the YES. The reigning AL Cy Young winner pinpointed a lack of precision in the Yankees starter’s pitches, allowing Arizona’s hitters to capitalize on his mistakes.

Manager Aaron Boone echoed Cole’s observations, acknowledging Cortes’ battle with command. The Yankees skipper elaborated on Cortes’ inability to consistently hit his spots, which created favorable opportunities for opposing hitters to exploit.

The Yankees, now facing a 1-1 record, will need to address Cortes’ early-inning woes if they want to maintain their early-season success. While the offense can’t be relied upon to consistently bail out the pitching staff, a solution is needed to ensure Cortes delivers more efficient outings moving forward and gives the team a chance to win consistently.

Cortes battles, Yankees bats fail to click


A nightmare first inning proved too much to overcome for the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, as they dropped their first game of the season to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks wasted no time getting on the board. Ketel Marte opened the scoring with a leadoff double, followed by a barrage of four hits that plated three runs for Arizona, giving them an early advantage over the Yankees.

Following the game, a self-reflective Cortes shouldered some of the blame for the Yankees’ early deficit. While he maintained that the pitch Marte doubled on was well-located, he acknowledged a need for sharper control overall. He also mentioned throwing a “good slider” later in the inning that was still hit hard by the Diamondbacks’ hitters.

Cortes understands the importance of a strong start and minimizing early damage. He admitted that while he executed some quality pitches, he needs to be more effective at limiting the opposition’s scoring opportunities, particularly in the first inning. Cortes recognized a similar pattern emerging from his prior outing, where most of the runs scored against him occurred in the opening frame. He expressed confidence that navigating the opening inning more effectively could have significantly altered the game’s trajectory.

To his credit, Cortes did settle down after the rough first inning, mirroring his Opening Day performance where he limited most of the damage to the initial frame. He pitched four scoreless innings following the rocky start.

However, the Yankees‘ bats were stymied by a dominant pitching performance from Arizona’s Zac Gallen. Gallen held the potent Yankees offense to a mere three hits across six scoreless innings. The Yankees’ lineup, which had thrived against opposing relievers earlier in the season, was unable to find its rhythm against Gallen’s sharp pitching.

The Yankees will look to address Cortes’ early-inning woes and hope for a more productive offensive showing as they attempt to bounce back from their first loss of the campaign.

Yankees' Nestor Cortes in action against the D-Backs in Phoenix on April 2, 2024.

Yankees look for improvement

Every baseball season has its share of offensive slumps – that’s an inevitable reality over a grueling 162-game marathon. However, Tuesday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks served as a stark reminder that minimizing early deficits is crucial for success.

Nestor Cortes’ struggles in the first inning have become a recurring theme in the early stages of the season. So far, he’s surrendered a hefty six runs on eight hits and two walks across the initial frames of his outings. This early damage has forced the New York Yankees offense to play catch-up, a strategy that proved unsuccessful on Tuesday night.

The good news? Cortes has shown the ability to settle down after the initial struggles. Over his last eight innings pitched (excluding the first inning of each outing), he’s allowed just one run, five hits, and two walks. This showcases his potential to be a reliable starter once he navigates the early innings more effectively.

Cortes himself acknowledges the need for improvement in this area. He recognizes that consistently putting his team in an early hole is unsustainable over the long haul. The Yankees have already navigated comebacks on multiple occasions this season, but relying on that strategy every night isn’t a recipe for long-term success.

Cortes remains focused on the future, expressing his determination to work hard and bounce back in his next start. With staff ace Gerrit Cole sidelined until at least late May, the Yankees need Cortes to step up and deliver more consistent performances. His ability to tighten his control and limit damage in the first inning will be a key factor in keeping the Yankees competitive during Cole’s absence.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!