This Week In Yankees Baseball: The Race Heats Up
Well, hello there everybody. Welcome to This Week In Yankees Baseball! After a slow start this week, the Boys from the Bronx bounced back strong on Wednesday and Friday, with wins over the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox.
It wasn´t Masahiro Tanaka‘s time on Sunday. Despite allowing just three earned runs in seven innings, he got no offensive support, as the Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles . But that still left the Japanese sensation at the top of the majors in wins and earned run average.
And Chase Whitley struggled for the first time this year on Monday. The Blue Jays got to him with 11 hits and eight runs in 3.1 innings. The biggest damage was done by Toronto´s Adam Lind, who hit a three-run home run for the Jays. Afterwards, Yankees manager Joe Girardi showed complete confidence in his young pitcher. Girardi pointed out that all of the majors´ top pitchers have rough outings. It is how they handle the adversity and bounce back that counts.
And Whitley wasn´t making any excuses. He refused to place the blame on pitching twice against the same club in a relatively short time. “If they made adjustments, I have to make adjustments, Whitley said according to MLB.com. That’s on me,” he said. “I couldn’t command the ball at all like I have in the past. I got away from the game plan, and couldn’t execute the pitches I wanted to throw. They’re a good hitting club.”
So on Tuesday David Phelps took the mound in game two of the series. Down 3-0 in the fifth inning, Phelps induced a ground ball to Derek Jeter with runners on first and second base. Jeter hesitated before deciding to throw to first, but the throw was too late. This opened the door for Toronto as they went on to score three runs in the inning.
But the Bombers never gave up. Jeter did his best to make amends by hitting a homer in the sixth, and the Yanks bombed Jays starter Mark Buehrle in the seventh to tie the game. But a throwing error in the ninth by Yangervis Solarte on a bunt by Melky Cabrera resulted in the 7-6 Toronto win.
That meant it was up to Hiroki Kuroda on Wednesday to salvage the final game of the series. Mark Teixeira helped the Yanks go up 4-0 with a two-run home run in the third, his 14th of the season. Tex had three RBI on the game. Kuroda allowed three runs in 6.1 and the Yanks won 5-3. A well rested David Robertson recorded five outs to earn his 18th save of the year. Robertson also tied Waite Hoyt for 12th place on the Yankees appearance list. It was the 365th time Robertson has taken the mound. Congratulations David!
From there, it was an off day on Thursday as the Yankees headed back to Yankee Stadium for a big weekend series with the Red Sox. Vidal Nuno got the start, even though Tanaka would have been available. Nuno made his case to stay in the rotation by throwing 5.2 scoreless innings. Dellin Betances got four outs, including two strike outs, to eliminate any idea that Boston might have had at making a comeback.
Brett Gardner, Kelly Johnson and Brian McCann all homered for the Bombers. McCann´s was a monstrous shot that reached the second deck in right field. Jeter also had a big night, going two for four in the 6-0 Yankees win
Speaking of Jeter, The Captain celebrated his 4oth birthday on Thursday. Happy Birthday, dear Derek, Happy Birthday to you!
The week ended with the Yankees right in the thick of AL East race. Through Friday, they were tied with the Orioles and the Blue Jays in the loss column in the battle for the top of the division.
How about that!