Nestor’s nasty tip helps Carlos Rodon roar to first win of 2024 season

Yankees' rotation members Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon
Michael Bennington
Wednesday April 10, 2024

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The Yankees gem by Carlos Rodon on Tuesday came a day after another immaculate start by his teammate Nestor Cortes. In fact, the former owes his success to the cue given by the latter.

The New York Yankees pitching staff stifled the Miami Marlins offense on Monday, securing a shutout and a series win. Soon after the game Yankees manager Aaron Boone pinpointed Nestor Cortes’ deceptive changeup as a key factor in his dominant eight-inning shutout performance on Monday.

While Cortes primarily relied on his fastball and slider throughout the game, throwing only 11 changeups, they proved highly effective. These 11 changeups generated a whopping three swinging strikes, the second-highest total for any of Cortes’ pitches. In his post-game interview, the Yankees star also acknowledged the Marlins’ aggressive hitting approach, known league-wide for their willingness to swing at anything. He strategized accordingly, utilizing his changeup to keep them off balance.

Following Cortes’ masterful performance, Carlos Rodon mirrored his success by exploiting the Marlins’ offensive strategy during Tuesday’s game. Despite a late rally by Miami that scored two runs in the seventh inning on an Anthony Rizzo error, the Miami native Carlos Rodon delivered a dominant six-inning outing, shutting out the Marlins offense. He held them to just four hits, issued two walks, and struck out six batters, all while throwing a relatively efficient 89 pitches.

Yankees pitchers Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes.

Traditionally known for relying heavily on his potent fastball-slider combination, Carlos Rodon has undergone a strategic evolution since the start of spring training. He has expanded his repertoire by adding a cutter and refining his curveball and changeup. The newly-introduced cutter has emerged as a significant weapon, even surpassing the slider in terms of frequency during Tuesday’s game, becoming his third-most utilized pitch.

Prior to the game, Manager Boone highlighted Carlos Rodon’s newly developed versatility as a positive factor. He specifically noted the impact of the changeup on overall performance, the effectiveness of the breaking ball, and the successful integration of the cutter into his arsenal during his first two starts. These observations suggest that the cutter is quickly becoming a valuable weapon in Carlos Rodon’s pitching arsenal, providing him with more options to deceive batters and solidify his success as a key contributor to the Yankees’ pitching rotation.

Carlos Rodon shines thanks to his changeup

carlos-rodon-new-york-yankees
AP

Carlos Rodon’s evolving arsenal continues to impress. While his newly-introduced cutter took center stage during his outing against the Marlins, his changeup remained a valuable weapon. Just like Nestor Cortes on Monday, Carlos Rodon effectively utilized his changeup, generating a noteworthy three swings and misses, solidifying it as one of his most effective pitches in the game.

Carlos Rodon acknowledged the prevalence of right-handed hitters in the Marlins’ lineup, recognizing it as a perfect opportunity to deploy his changeup. He spoke highly of the pitch’s characteristics and placement, attributing the numerous swings and misses to its effectiveness. Looking forward, Carlos Rodon expressed his intention to continue incorporating the changeup into his pitching strategy.

For context, it’s important to note Carlos Rodon’s limited use of the changeup in his previous starts: just once against the Astros and five times against the Diamondbacks. However, both Carlos Rodon and Cortes alluded to ongoing refinements with their changeups, suggesting the Yankees‘ game plan for the Marlins specifically called for its increased use.

Cortes, ever the strategist, emphasized the favorable matchup presented by the Marlins’ lineup, allowing them to integrate more changeups into their pitching strategy. He avoided any negative comments toward the Marlins, focusing instead on the strategic value this matchup offered. When asked about the possibility of future collaboration with Rodón on utilizing the changeup more frequently, Cortes highlighted its positive impact on disrupting opposing hitters’ timing.

Carlos Rodon’s diversified approach on the mound translated into one of his strongest performances as a Yankee. As he exited the mound, the appreciative crowd showered him with applause, though manager Aaron Boone playfully questioned whether the pitcher even noticed the ovation.

Carlos Rodon is on the mound in the Yankees vs. Marlins game at Yankee Stadium on April 9, 2024.
NYY

Boone, clearly pleased with the outcome, expressed his hope that Carlos Rodon was satisfied with his dominant performance. However, he also revealed an interesting detail: Carlos Rodon sought confirmation from him, almost seeking ownership of the game and permission to continue pitching. This anecdote underscores his relentless competitive spirit, a valuable asset for the Yankees.

Carlos Rodon, ultimately, expressed his satisfaction with the result, describing it as a gratifying performance and expressing his delight in the team’s victory. The collective effort and strategic pitching by the Yankees’ staff have resulted in a successful start to the season.

Verdugo, known for his playful nickname for the Yankees – the “dogs” – provided the explanation behind the canine-inspired celebrations that erupted after the home run. He spoke with genuine enthusiasm

Carlos Rodon turned in a solid performance on the mound, but it was the bullpen that secured the win. Ian Hamilton entered in relief, navigating a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning with impressive composure. He secured two scoreless innings, handing the ball off to closer Clay Holmes, who slammed the door on the Marlins’ offense.

Speaking after the game, Hamilton praised the collaborative effort with Carlos Rodon, emphasizing his focus on getting outs and expressing satisfaction with their combined success.

This victory propels the Yankees to a remarkable 10-2 record. They aim to sweep the series against Miami on Wednesday with Marcus Stroman taking the mound. Stroman, a Long Island native, has enjoyed a phenomenal start to his Yankees career, boasting an unblemished 0.00 ERA after two impressive outings. Most notably, he stymied the Toronto Blue Jays with six scoreless innings during Yankee Stadium’s home opener.

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