The New York Yankees offense still looks inept, but that hasn’t prevented them from staying near the top of the AL East standings. Luckily, their pitching has been outstanding which is something that was on display again this weekend against the Seattle Mariners.
Sunday’s 2-1 victory gave the Yankees a 3-1 series win as they start a tough ten game west coast swing. Sunday’s hero was starter David Phelps, but he wasn’t alone against the Mariners.
Phil Hughes set the tone Thursday night by throwing seven brilliant innings, allowing only three hits and no earned runs in a 6-1 victory. It was the type of start Yankee fans had hoped to see more of from Hughes in 2013. Their worst start of the weekend came from their most consistent starter, Hiroki Kuroda, on Friday night. In a tough 4-1 loss, Kuroda yielded four runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs.
The staff got back on track with a remarkably economical start from cagey veteran Andy Pettitte. The lefty breezed through seven and one-third innings, surrendering just three hits while tossing only 85 pitches. Mariano Rivera survived a bit of a shaky ninth inning to earn his 22nd save in the 3-1 win.
Finally, on Sunday, Phelps went toe to toe with Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and held his own. Although he didn’t get the victory, he kept the struggling Yankees lineup in the game by battling through six innings. The bullpen took over in the seventh and David Robertson earned the win after the Yankees scratched a run in the top of the ninth. Rivera came on to lock down his 23rd save in his final appearance at Safeco Field.
All told, the bullpen worked 8.2 innings during the four game series and didn’t allow a single run. The starting pitching has been great, but the ‘pen has been brilliant.
This style of play is not one the Yankees are used to playing. In recent years the team has been an offensive juggernaut, scoring runs in bunches. But this year it’s been all about the pitching. It remains to be seen how long into the season this formula can work, but it’s been good enough to keep them in contention thus far.
If the offense ever returns to being the Bronx Bombers, this team could make a deep run into October.