Throughout the 2022 season so far, the Rays have been winning games on the back of their pitching. The best part of that rotation so far has been the young lefty, Shane McClanahan. With a sterling 1.87 ERA and a league-leading 98 strikeouts, he is firmly in the race for the A.L. Cy Young.
However, his next start will be a tough one when he takes the mound against the mighty New York Yankees. Of course, this is a huge rivalry match-up as Tampa Bay does its best to catch the Yankees at the top of the standings.
When thinking of the 2022 Yankees, it is easy to think of their star outfielder Aaron Judge. The league leader in home runs with a whopping 24, he is off to an incredible start. Despite this, the Yankees' pitching is the real backbone of their team. With four-time all-star Gerrit Cole the most recognizable member of the staff, it can be easy to forget the other four pitchers in the rotation
Alas, it is Nestor Cortes who is currently enjoying the best season among any Yankees starter. When he takes the bump on Wednesday against the Rays, he will be doing so with a 1.96 ERA and a WHIP under one.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this game will be the contrast in styles between Cortes and McClanahan. The Yankees hurler has a knack for weird deliveries and varying arm angles that give him the ability to miss bats despite a fastball velocity that is in the fifth percentile. For McClanahan, he has overwhelming stuff with a fastball that averages six miles per hour faster than Cortes.
The duel between Cortes and McClanahan promises to be one of the best of the season. With a combined ERA of 3.83, a high-scoring finish is not to be expected. In what could be a game where two runs are enough to win it, the Rays' struggling offense will have their work cut out for them against the red-hot "Bronx Bombers."
While these two starting pitchers get the job done in different ways, it will be a treat to watch in Wednesday's game. Both pitchers are highly likely to be all-stars and one could easily win the Cy Young at the season's end. So while fans of the Rays and Yankees will have their eyes on this match-up, the entire baseball world will also have interest in this one.