The Yankees won a sleepy Sunday afternoon game, 4-2 over the Indians. The game was odd. The Yankees never trailed, effectively winning the game when they plated three runs in the second inning, but the team stranded a ton of base runners. Four runs on eleven hits is a poor outcome, especially since one of those hits was a solo bomb from Curtis Granderson. The Yankees didn’t play well, but the Indians played worse. We’ll take that.
Freddy Garcia struggled, but was effective over a short start. He allowed two runs over 4.2 innings of work. Joe Girardi yanked Freddy as soon as he showed any signs of trouble in the fifth inning. Had Hiroki Kuroda not given the Yankees a complete game on Saturday Girardi may have left Freddy in the game with a 3-2 lead. However, the bullpen was rested so Joe made the aggressive move, taking out his starter after just 90 pitches.
The Yankee bullpen was the star of this one. Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano each gave the Yankees more than an inning of work. None of the three relievers allowed more than a single base runner over his entire appearance, walking none and allowing no runs. The lock down performance was precisely what the lackluster offense needed.
Apart from the Granderson homer, the other Yankee runs came on a series of singles and ground outs in the second inning. It began when Ichiro Suzuki singled in Eric Chavez. After that Derek Jeter, who was 0-5 on the day, scored Raul Ibanez on a ground out before Nick Swisher singled in Ichiro. It wasn’t the prettiest three runs the Yankees have put together, but it was enough.
Things are about to get seriously tough for the Yankees, but in an exciting way. With the exception of a total of six games against the Twins and the Athletics the Yankees end their season playing exclusively against the AL East, including six games against the Rays and seven against the Orioles. That’s enough to swing the division against the Bombers, who will need to begin playing better immediately. Fortunately the Yankees get to play the Blue Jays at home first, before things get interesting at the end of the week with the Orioles coming to town. While the Yankee fan in me hates how difficult the schedule is about to become, the baseball fan in me loves the idea of the Yankees needing to win their division against the division.