The Yankees concluded their nine game west coast trip with a 5-3 win over the Angels. Bartolo Colon was not as dominate as he was in his last start but he helped the Yankees improve to 6-3 on the three city west coast road trip.
During the game, there were two key offensive performances. Derek Jeter’s single, gave him 60 hits on the season, which puts him only 14 hits away from the 3,000 hit milestone. He will be the 28th player in baseball history to do so and the first player to accomplish the feat since Craig Biggio did so in 2007. In the illustrious history of the franchise, he will also be the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. Jeter has also not had a strike out in his last 52 plate appearances, which is the longest streak in his Hall-of-Fame career.
Colon was back in the city where he won the CY Young in 2005, and was able to get the job done after pitching a complete game shutout in his last start against Oakland. So far, Colon is having his best season since he was 21-8, with a 3.48 ERA six seasons ago. He has been pitching with impressive control, owning the best WHIP of his career, while also displaying nearly a four to one strikeout to walk ratio.
This was an impressive nine-game span because the Yankee offense will likely not face many more nine-game stretches where the opposing pitchers were of that caliber. When they faced each team, the Mariners, Athletics and Angels were in the top three in team ERA. However, this game showed the continued revival of Nick Swisher, whose home run gave him a hit in eight of the teams last nine games. His current average of .215 is not where he wants it to be, but it is 11 points higher than what it was on May 25, and two out of his three home runs on the road trip have been critical in the victories.
Mark Teixeira was also a key offensive force hitting two home runs, both off of Angels starter Joel Pineiro. One, which drove in Curtis Granderson in the fifth, gave the Yankees a lead for the rest of the game. In addition, this blast came through in the clutch as there were two outs in the inning. A few days ago the slugging first baseman had a seven-game hitting streak going, so this might be the start of a new one. Teixeira once played for the Angels so his two homers were a perfect way to silence the boos. He now has 18 home runs on the season, which is one ahead of Granderson for the team lead.
Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner both picked up two hits for the Yankees. Hopefully this is a sign of what is to come for Posada since he needs to continue this production at the plate to justify his designated hitter spot. His average is still only at .178 so if his struggles continue it might be time for Andruw Jones to play every day. Also, the highly regarded catching prospect, Jesus Montero, is likely ready to be called up. However, the organization has respect for Posada so since the Yankees are winning they probably will not take away his playing time for a few weeks.
The bullpen continued to pitch effectively as they have not allowed any runs in their last seven games. However, they were not flawless by any means, as David Robertson walked two batters, and Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera both allowed two hits. But the main goal is to not allow any runs and they did that. Rivera picked up his 575th save of his career, and Robertson recorded another strikeout, which adds $100 to his foundation that helps those affected by the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The Yankees now have an off day before starting a three-game series, in the Bronx, against the rival Boston Red Sox. They will try to bring their momentum back east as they are only 1-5 so far against the Red Sox. Both teams come in playing well as Boston (33-26) is only one-game behind the Yankees (33-24) for first place.