The Yankees have had some trouble lately in areas where they used to be pretty strong, the effect of a very long season, I suppose. But today, the Yankees actually played fairly well (and also very well) in those recently weak areas.
Adam Warren got the start in the late afternoon game against the White Sox. Since coming back from the bullpen to filling in for some injured starters, Warren has certainly struggled to find his footing as a starter once again, where he used to be rather reliable. And the first inning seemed to continue that struggle for him — a lead-off single stole 2nd and then scored on an RBI single before he got out of the inning, mainly thanks to a great double play. After that inning, Warren became the old Warren and just let into the White Sox. Overall, Warren threw 88 pitches in his 6 innings, gave up 3 hits (all in the 1st inning), 3 walks, and that lone run (again in the 1st inning), striking out 4 Chicago batters.
With an early lead, the Chicago starter was cruising along rather well until his final inning — the 6th inning, when the Yankees just started getting to the exhausted pitcher. Ellsbury led-off with a single and stole 2nd base. Chase Headley hit a monster ground-rule double into center field that scored Ellsbury to tie up the game. This was followed by Alex Rodriguez hitting a ground-rule double to score Headley to give the Yankees the lead.
And there they sat as the bullpens opened. The Yankees 7-8-9 relievers were basically flawless, getting three consecutive 1-2-3 innings from Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller. And I’m not going to say that I miss the dramatic tension some of those relievers have pitched through recently. Nope, I like the clean, swift innings like from this afternoon’s game.
Final score: 2-1 Yankees.
More teams seal up their postseason dreams every day. The other New York team had their own champagne celebration today in Cincinnati as their win today clinched the NL East. Other teams on their way to October baseball include the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs (one will be the NL Central champ, the other 2 the NL Wild Card teams); the Royals are the AL Central champions; and the Blue Jays are guaranteed a postseason, but with the Yankees breathing down the necks still (yeah!), they aren’t the champions of the AL East.
And for Flashback, um, Saturday: two years ago, Mariano Rivera threw his last pitch as a professional athlete in Yankee Stadium before saying farewell to the fans and the game. And yet, like I said yesterday, this 2015 team is still in a better postseason position than the 2013 team. The Yankees haven’t had a solid chance at the postseason since the 2012 season, so before I started this blog. It would nice to write about the postseason that actually involves the team I’m following as players on the field rather than joining me on the proverbial couch watching the games on television.