Edwin Diaz, Nestor Cortes lift New York baseball
Latino stars have New York thinking of Subway Series
New York baseball is back, and you can thank Edwin Diaz and Nestor Cortes Jr. for helping the Yankees and Mets stay atop the baseball world. When I say “back,” I mean “back.”
When teams look at their upcoming series, they gulp when their eyes come across the “@ NYY” or “@ NYM” on the schedule. That’s how back New York baseball is.
A little more than a third into the season, the New York Yankees and Mets sit atop Major League Baseball as the two best teams in baseball.
Thanks to torrid starts to the season by Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso along with the rejuvenation of one of the game’s best closers in Edwin Diaz, there are a myriad of reasons why this new era of baseball in the Big Apple is upon us.
Coming into the season, expectations were high for the Mets, whose billionaire owner Steve Cohen practically handed over a blank check to general manager Billy Eppler.
Meeting Bronx expectations
The same could not be said for the crosstown rival Yankees, who passed on one of the game’s best free agent classes in recent years. But as you dig deep beyond the attention-grabbing headlines, there is a constant for both teams: Latino ballplayers.
Not only have the superstars like Francisco Lindor and Gleyber Torres played at the clip for which they have grown accustomed, but role players have stepped up in big situations to lay a foundation that has been able to nurture success.
Take Yankees surprise ace Nestor Cortes, Jr. for example. He had been a journeyman pitcher for the majority of his career. Now he has given hope to the crafty pitchers who rely more on movement than overpowering speed.
Nasty Nestor night
No one expected Cortes, the early favorite for the American League Cy Young Award, to be in the top three in American League ERA.
His performance this season created remarkable pitching depth for the Bronx Bombers. He and his Mario-like mustache have also become cult heroes.
The Yankees will celebrate Nasty Nestor T-shirt Night on June 24, giving a stamp of legitimacy signifying that the Latino ace has been a key player in the team’s success this season.
For the Mets, one of the team’s most gaping holes had been its back end of the bullpen. Unable to close games, the team had grown accustomed to falling apart in the late innings.
That is no longer the case.
Edwin Diaz regains form
Diaz, who was the gem within the Robinson Cano trade from the Mariners in 2018, was fresh off his best season of his career the year before.
Being thrown into the New York frenzy can be difficult for many players. It was obvious Diaz was having trouble adjusting. He had trouble replicating the success he found in Seattle until this year.
Now, Diaz is a machine in the ninth. His strikeout rate is off the charts this season. He also has regained the edge and swagger for which he had been known.
There is hope for New York baseball fans.
While it may still be very early, just imagine the first Subway Series World Series since 2000. The buzz will be one to remember.
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