The Yankees defeated the Orioles, 3-2, behind timely hitting and effective pitching all around by Freddy Garcia as well as the bullpen. This win gave them a split of the interrupted four-game series against the last place Orioles, in Baltimore.
Freddy Garcia only allowed four base runners during his very solid first start after returning from his short stint on the disabled list. The only run that he allowed was a homer to the free swinging Mark Reynolds, who can usually be counted on hitting a ball out of the park or striking out.
Garcia has a stellar 3.09 ERA, while continuing his pre disabled list ownership of the American League with his sixth straight start allowing three runs or less. More impressively, in four of those starts he has allowed one run or less.
Down the stretch their will be a three-way battle between Garcia, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes for the number three spot in the Yankees playoff rotation. As of now, Garcia should get the edge because he has been battle tested, pitching in many more big games during his career than Nova or Hughes. Nobody would have thought that Bartolo Colon and Garcia could have been the two and three starters for the Yankes, in the playoffs, at the beginning of the season.
Mark Teixiera got the scoring started in the first hitting a double to drive in Curtis Granderson, for his 100th RBI, which is his sixth season driving in 100 runs or more. Teixiera continued his recent surge at the plate as he is 6-12 in his last three games
In the fourth inning, Nick Swisher would give the Yankees all the scoring they would need off of Alfred Simon as his homer to deep right drove in Robinson Cano. Six of Swisher’s last eight hits have been home runs which is unbelievable. He now has a .267 average, with 21 homers and 77 RBI’s, which is a total reversal of fortune from how he was hitting earlier in the season.
The normally perfect David Robertson, who had not surrendered a run in his last 13 appearances, actually gave up a home run to J.J. Hardy, to deep left center, to make the game interesting. However Robertson, also known as Houdini, would buckle down afterwards, striking out two in the inning while getting the hold.
Mariano Rivera has more saves against the Orioles than against any other team. That is not all that surprising since they are in the AL East and have struggled for much of Rivera’s career.
He entered the game with a 3-2 lead facing Vladimir Guerrero. Rivera would tip the ball with his glove, so that Cano could field it near second and make a strong throw to Teixiera at first. He would go on to retire the side in order like he has so many times during his Hall of Fame career.
Rivera has now been perfect in his last five innings, not allowing a walk or hit during those games. The last time he faltered was during three games against the Angels and Red Sox. The Yankees will now be facing the Red Sox for three games in Boston, so hopefully Rivera can start as well as CC Sebathia can dominate the Red Sox.
They now trail the Red Sox by 1.5 games and are 2-10 in the season series. Sebathia, (17-7, 2.99 ERA) the Yankees ace, has had a CY Young caliber season and would be a lock for the award over Justin Verlander if it was not for his struggles against Boston.
During four starts this season against the Red Sox, he has a sky-high 7.20 ERA, with a 1.72 WHIP and 10 walks in 25 innings. He will pitch tonight, against John Lackey, (5.98 ERA) who lacks a decent ERA. Hopefully Sebathia will be able to execute his pitches and pitch well tonight like he has against the rest of the AL East. He has been a workhorse for the team, throwing at least seven innings in his last 14 starts, receiving the win in nine of those decisions.
The Red Sox and Yankees will clash three more times after this three game set in Boston, and these six games will go a long way towards deciding who gets to win the division and thus face the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Yankees were again without the duo of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez but were still able to win the last two games without them. There is a chance that both will play during the series in Boston.
Rivera is now only eight saves away (592) from Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list so he should be able to pass him before the end of the season.