After losing the first game of their road trip, the New York Yankees came back to win the next two games in a tough series against the Colorado Rockies. All three games were decided by either one or two runs, and neither team scored more than three runs in any game.
This series was an impressive one for the Yankees because it was won by good starting pitching and backed up by good bullpen appearances. The Colorado pitching staff wasn’t doing the Yanks any favors, and contrary to the popular belief that American League offense blows away National League pitching, the bombers’ bats were relatively quiet.
Hiroki Kuroda, who has been the most consistently good starting pitcher so far this season, had another quality outing in the first game of the interleague matchup, allowing only two runs. Shawn Kelley, who has been trying to bring his ERA down after his rough start to the season, backed him up with a scoreless inning. Unfortunately the Yankee offense had no answer to the Rockies’ lefties, and they were shut out.
Kuroda’s performance was followed by another impressive pitcher as David Phelps, who is spot starting for Ivan Nova while he is on the disabled list and is most likely trying to secure a place in the rotation, had a good game in which he too allowed just two runs early in the game and was otherwise almost unhittable. Again, the bullpen stepped in, and in a tie game situation, was able to hold the Rockies off, and secure a Yankee win.
Lastly, in the series finale C.C. Sabathia stepped up to the mound and was dominant through four before the rain delay; he gave up just one hit and a run before the game was paused for hours. When the game resumed, Sabathia had been sitting too long to re-enter, and the bullpen picked the team up big time, pitching a collective five shutout innings.
Adam Warren came up big, and Preston Claiborne was able to get another chance to show his stuff to collect his first hold. David Robertson pitched well, quieting some of the injury talk, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with a perfect ninth.
These performances over the past three days might seem inconsequential because it’s early, it’s the Rockies, and the games aren’t overly significant yet. However, three strong starting performances and a shutout bullpen is nothing to scoff at. The Yankees are showing that they can win close games and rely on their pitching deep into games.
The Yankees will be facing some good pitching in Kansas City; they will see James Shields on Saturday and Ervin Santana on Sunday. If the pitching can continue to be this impressive, however, that won’t be a problem.
Holly Berkowitz is a New York Yankees writer for rantsports.com. Follow her on Twitter @hollyberry9118.