The Yankees were able to beat the Blue Jays in convincing fashion, 7-3, Wednesday afternoon. With the win, the Bronx Bombers won their third series in a row. The game was also filled with two milestones, one noteworthy, and the other one was not nearly as memorable.
Mariano Rivera, whose 572 saves are second only to the 601 that Trevor Hoffman has, became the first pitcher in baseball history to make 1,000 appearances on the same team. In this category, Hoffman is second since he appeared in 902 of his 1,035 games with the Padres. This proves how durable and valuable Rivera has been to the Yankee organization. He has been an integral part in the organization making the playoffs 15 times, and winning five World Series championships. His cut fastball is a phenomenon in it of itself because hitters know it is coming but they still can’t hit it. Rivera pitched the ninth, in a non-save situation, and allowed one hit in an otherwise perfect outing.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Yankees bats were able to come alive against Jo-Jo Reyes unlike Tuesday night when they only scored one run in seven innings off of ace Ricky Romero. They scored five runs of Reyes, highlighted by two run blasts by Mark Teixeira and Andruw Jones. With this shaky performance Reyes tied the record for most consecutive starts without a win. This was his 28th start in a row without a win, dating back to 2008.
Curtis Granderson was able to continue his impressive hitting off of lefties, hitting a double to right field scoring Derek Jeter. He was also able to get on base again in the third inning via a single of Reyes, and was able to score off of Teixeira’s home run. Ever since last August when he received the special instruction from Kevin Long, he has been like a totally new hitter, especially against lefties. Last season he only had a .234 average and four homers against lefties, but so far this season he is hitting .296 with eight home runs against southpaws.
Freddy Garcia and the three relief pitchers were able to successfully limit the production of Jose Bautista who did not have any homers or RBI. This is key when facing the Blue Jays because Bautista is their only true power threat. They have had trouble finding anybody that makes sense to give him protection batting cleanup, having recently put Yunel Escobar and Juan Rivera behind him in the lineup.
Garcia had yet another solid start after giving up three runs in 6.1 innings. The Blue Jays had eight hits off of him but not giving up any walks proves that he didn’t hurt himself which is key. This was his second quality start in a row and it is safe to say that he has surpassed expectations so far.
With expensive offseason addition Rafael Soriano, who is likely out more than two months with an inflamed ligament in his right elbow, the new end of the bullpen combination of David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless 2 2/3 innings. Brian Cashman is probably thinking “I told you so” right now because he was never truly in favor of the signing.
All of his acquisitions are doing well right now, and one who had a monster game after previously struggling was Andruw Jones. He started the season hitting well but had only been hitting 2 for 22 in his last eight games played. However, he was able to show some of the power that he often displayed earlier in his career hitting two home runs, driving in four runs, while going a perfect three for three at the plate.
The Yankees were even able to steal three bases off of Jose Molina. They now have Thursday off as the team travels to Seattle for their first west coast trip of the season. They have three games each against the Mariners, Athletics and Angels and on Friday they will face rookie Michael Pineda who has been one of the best pitchers in the American League so far.
Right now, the Yankees (27-21) are only ahead of the Red Sox (27-22) by half a game in the AL East, and the last place Orioles are only 3.5 games behind. This will likely continue for some time because the Orioles and Blue Jays are both solid but likely will not contend for the playoffs come September.