Despite a five-run rally being wasted in the series finale with the Texas Rangers yesterday afternoon, the New York Yankees wake up today having made a statement. They are a serious contender for the American League Championship.
Over the last few weeks questions began to rise as to whether the Yankees were as good as their record indicated and if the multiple injuries were beginning to catch up with them. But, the Yankees squashed that talk by taking three out of four games from the AL West leaders with dominant pitching in the first three games and timely hits. They certainly made their case that should they win the AL East and end up with the best record in the American League, they will be tough to eliminate in the postseason.
The Yankees have overcome many injuries and inconsistent play at times (yesterday included) to hold the best record in the AL at 70-48. They have shown plenty of resolve in the face of adversity. In the sixth inning of yesterday’s game they showed the fight that has kept them a top the division for over two months now.
Ivan Nova allowed two first inning runs on a bloop single by Adrian Beltre, and then escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the third with the heart of the Rangers order at the plate. He couldn’t do the same in the top of the sixth as the Rangers produced two more runs on a RBI-single by David Murphy and a run-scoring ground out by Craig Gentry.
The Yankees were held to one hit through the first five innings by Texas starter Derek Holland. But, in the fifth down 4-0, the offense erupted. Ichiro Suzuki singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Derek Jeter singled to extend his hit streak to 12 games and scored Suzuki for the Yankees first run. Jeter moved to second on the play at the plate and scored on Nick Swisher‘s RBI-single. Mark Teixeira struck out and Andruw Jones followed with a two-run bomb which was reviewed and upheld to tie the game. The Yanks scored once more before the inning ended after Casey McGehee reached second base on an error by right fielder Mike Olt. That was the end for Holland and Russell Martin greeted Tanner Scheppers with a RBI-single to give the Yankees the lead.
The Rangers answered right back with three runs as Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain could not keep the Rangers off the board. The highlight of the inning was a two-run double by Gentry after he followed the second straight intentional walk to Mitch Moreland. Gentry ended the day with three RBI.
The Yankees inched to within one with a one-out bases loaded ground out by Teixeira and that was as close as the Bombers would get as the bullpen continued to let the Rangers pull away. Nova ended with a line of four runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings, failing to build on his last start. The usually effective bullpen was worse, allowing a total of six runs on nine hits and two walks.
The Yankees cannot rest on their laurels as the Boston Red Sox come to the Stadium beginning tonight for a three-game set. The Red Sox are in the news more for their troubles off the field than the ones on the field recently as the rift between several star players and manager Bobby Valentine has blown up. Despite the drama, the Red Sox are a talented team which may still have some fight in them.
In tonight’s matchup the Yankees send Phil Hughes to the mound. Hughes (11-10, 4.44 ERA) has fallen on a rough times in his has two starts after a stretch of top notch pitching in June and July. He’ll face left-hander Franklin Morales (3-3, 3.29 ERA) who was recently moved from the bullpen to the rotation.
Topics: AL East Leaders, Andruw Jones, Bobby Valentine, Boone Logan, Boston Red Sox, Casey McGehee, Cody Eppley, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Ivan Nova, Jayson Nix, Joba Chamberlain, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Phil Hughes, Russell Martin, Texas Rangers, Yankee Stadium, Yankees