The Yankees finished off their series against the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-1 win, and that victory finished off a three-game sweep by the Yankees in Seattle. It was their first three-game winning streak on the road since beating the Red Sox from May 1 to May 3.
Joe Girardi’s team has rebounded from their slump in the middle of May to win seven of their last 10 games. They have received dominating starts from Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and two each Michael Pineda and Adam Warren. This hot streak comes after the Yankees lost 10 of their previous 11 games.
During Wednesday’s win, Tanaka made his first start since April 23 as a result of being on the disabled list due to wrist and forearm issues. His line of seven innings, one earned run, nine strikeouts and only three hits was better than anyone could have expected.
He was on a pitch limit of 80, and he was remarkably able to get through seven innings with 78 pitches. He allowed three hits and zero walks, which led to an outstanding 0.43 WHIP for the game.
All three hits that Tanaka allowed came in the third inning, but after those three hits, he retired the final 13 batters that he faced. Tanaka was able to throw in the mid-90s many times in his first start back (with a high of 96), which proves that he has recovered from what put him on the disabled list. He had also not thrown in the mid-90s earlier this season.
Tanaka’s explanation for finally reaching the mid 90s: “I think maybe (because) we’re a little bit deeper in the season. Warming up a little, maybe that has to do with it.”
“I’m not so sure I expected (that velocity) the first time out,” Girardi said. “Velocity has been a huge topic for him. We talked about his average velocity has been there. In April, a lot of times you don’t see guys’ (full) velocity. You just don’t. Part of it has to do with that stinky weather that we play in, but I was a little surprised.”
Tanaka had a solid 3.22 ERA in four starts before going on the disabled list, but his start on Wednesday brought his ERA down to an impressive 2.76 and his WHIP is now all the way down to 0.82. If he can continue throwing in the mid-90s it will make the rest of his pitches even more effective than they were when he was throwing in the low-90s.
Two different homers gave the Yankees enough runs to get Tanaka his third win of the season. Mark Teixeira hit his 16th homer of the season in the second inning and then Garrett Jones hit a homer in the fourth inning that drove in Alex Rodriguez to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. It was Jones’s third homer of the season and second in as many days.
Jones will get the start in right field again tonight as Carlos Beltran will miss another game with a sore foot. He has really found his swing recently since in the last nine games he has appeared in, he has 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats (.455) with three homers, eight RBIs and five runs scored. His average was .150 on May 20 and it is now a very respectable .258.
Teixeira is second in the American League in homers and first in the AL with his 41 RBIs. He should be able to easily surpass last season’s numbers as he finished with 22 homers and 62 RBIs in 123 games.
After their off day on Thursday after flying cross country from Seattle, the Yankees will now start a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. Pineda has had his previously scheduled for Saturday skipped because his innings are piling up. His next start will be on June 12 against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees have a half game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays after their sweep of the Mariners. The Rays have also won three games in a row. Here are the pitching matchups for this series against the Angels (28-26), who are in second place in the AL West:
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-1, 4.40)
RHP Jered Weaver (4-4, 4.08)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Adam Warren (3-4, 3.75)
RHP Garrett Richards (5-3, 3.26)
7:15 p.m., FOX
RHP Michael Pineda (7-2, 3.33)
LHP C.J. Wilson (3-4, 3.55)
1:05 p.m., YES Network