After mostly winning through very good pitching in the first two wins of their current series against the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees justified their ‘Bronx bombers’ nicknames in an 8-5 win over their AL East rivals to claim a first series (three games or longer) sweep in nine years.
The Yankees scored the first eight runs of the game, beginning with a two-run homer from Mark Teixeira, followed by a 3-RBI double from Brian McCann, an RBI double from Carlos Beltran and finished their impressive scoring in the sixth inning when Brett Gardner hit a three-run homer. It was Teixeira’s ninth home run of the season, third in the AL and in Major League baseball behind Nelson Cruz and Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez himself did get in a run and a hit (1-for-3) after a Mike Napoli home run in the 6th, but the Red Sox didn’t score outside that inning. The Yankees saw things slipping out of Adam Warren’s hands, and Esmil Rogers didn’t do much better. But once Justin Wilson took the mound, things calmed down, and Andrew Miller picked up his 10th save of the season with a ninth inning that including two strikeouts and two walks.
Joe Kelly (1-1, 5.72 ERA) was the pitcher who got shellshocked by the Yankees, allowing nine hits and five runs in less than five innings. Craig Breslow, the second reliever, was the one who gave up the three-run homer in the sixth, not lasting even one out before getting pulled off as well. The Bullpen wasn’t all to blame this time, but it did cost the Red Sox one lead in this series as well.
At 16-9, the Yankees now have a three game lead over the Orioles and Rays both in the AL East. The Red Sox (12-13) are four games behind in a division that is pretty close so far. The Yankees are fifth in the AL in runs, but their true power has been the ability of their bullpen to hold down the fort and calm things down when necessary, having the third-best ERA in the league at 3.20.
After not making the postseason two years in a row, the Yankees are off to a fantastic start, seemingly improving on all of their weaknesses from last season. It’s only May so it’s wise not to get too excited about early wins and leads, but a team that made tweaks instead of massive changes seems to be on the right path after struggling with mediocrity for a very long time.