Following a rainout Friday night in Cleveland, the Guardians face a daunting task in a doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Saturday.
The Yankees will start two pitchers in the American League's top 10 in ERA, while the Guardians will counter will a pair of starters possessing ERAs northof 7.00.
In Game 1, New York right-hander Gerrit Cole (6-2, 2.99 ERA) will oppose Cleveland left-hander Kirk McCarty (0-1, 10.29), who will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
In the nightcap, Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes (6-3, 2.51 ERA) will go against Guardians right-hander Aaron Civale (2-4, 7.20).
Cortes was 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA through his first 10 starts this year. He cooled off in his past four outings, going 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA, but he insists his confidence remains high.
"It's been pretty good, going back to last year," he said. "The chances I got, and the ability that I can go out there and pitch every five days, has been incredible for me. As long as I can go out there and compete and give my team a chance, I'm happy."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has nothing but praise for Cortes.
"He's been one of the best pitchers in the game, not only this year, but even going back to last year," Boone said. "He's been consistent with us, reliable and continues to get better and better."
Cortes is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four career appearances (one start) against the Guardians.
Cole, set for his 250th career regular-season start, is 4-2 with a 3.17 ERA in seven career starts against the Guardians, and 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in three outings at Cleveland.
Civale is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
McCarty made his major league debut against the Yankees on April 24, allowing four runs in three relief innings. His only other major league outing was a spot start in a June 7 doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, when he yielded five runs (four earned) in four innings. He is 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) for Columbus.
Cleveland is hoping to get its starting catcher back soon. Austin Hedges was placed on the seven-day concussion injured list on Tuesday, but the move was retroactive to June 26. He could be back on Sunday.
"Today is an important day for him," Guardians manager Terry Francona said Friday. "We'll try to keep adding to his intensity and workload and keep adding more."
Francona was unsure if Hedges would need a rehab assignment.
Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez, who was held out of the team's Thursday game due to right abdominal tightness, underwent an MRI exam on Friday. Francona said the team was still awaiting test results.
The Yankees activated reliever Aroldis Chapman from the injured list on Friday. The left-hander has been out since May 24 due to left Achilles tendinitis, and he made three minor league rehab appearances. Manager Aaron Boone said Chapman might not be thrown right back into the closer role as he resumes action.
"We'll try to be as forthright as we can heading into a game, where we see him," Boone said. "But for right now, it's just getting him back in. He's ready for anything."
To clear a spot on the roster for Chapman, New York placed right-handed reliever Miguel Castro on the paternity list. Castro is 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA, and he has thrown a total of five scoreless innings over his past four appearances.
--Field Level Media