The New York Yankees are off to a great start this season, picking up two consecutive wins against the Boston Red Sox. With concerns regarding the starting pitching rotation, the Yankees have managed to alleviate those issues with fantastic relief production. The offense has also come in clutch, specifically with their slugging.
Despite general manager Brian Cashman trying to inject a bit more contact hitting into the batting order, the sluggers were the main catalyst behind the team’s success the past two days.
Three huge positives for the Yankees:
1.) The bullpen
Entering the 2022 campaign, the Yankees knew their bullpen was a strength. On Saturday against Boston, the Yankees used six relievers, throwing six no-hit innings, holding their opponents to just two runs, which were given up in the second inning by Luis Severino. The team used seven relievers on Friday in an 11 inning win, with the bullpen giving up a combined five hits and one earned run over 13 innings.
The Bombers are incredibly confident in their relief, even elevating Ron Marinaccio to the active roster and utilizing him in a high leverage situation after they pulled Severino out on Saturday after three innings of play.
“It’s certainly been one of the overwhelming strengths that his team has had now for a while and we certainly feel like it has a chance to be that this year,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously knowing in this month of April where you know, you’re going to have to lean on them for them to go out and pitch the way they have the first two nights here to kind of set the tone against a really good offensive team, you know, they’re capable of that. But it’s good to see them be as sharp as they have been.”
2.) Luis Severino
Despite throwing 65 pitches over just three innings, this was Luis Severino‘s first start in a number of years. The former All-Star touched triple digits with his fastball and averaged out at about 98 mph, a tremendous sign of progress. While he did allow five hits, the majority came in the second inning when he gave up a two-run homer to Alex Verdugo. Severino picked up five strikeouts during his first start of the year, and while some may look down upon his outing, the reality is, Sevy looked great in context.
Considering Severino had only pitched 18 innings over the past three years combined, this was a great sign of what’s to come as long as he can remain healthy.
The Yankees’ offensive strategy still relies heavily on slugging, and it came up big against Boston on Saturday. After Verdugo smacked a two-run blast in the second inning, Anthony Rizzo picked up his second homer in as many games, towering a moonshot to right field, driving in Josh Donaldson. With the game tied at two in the 6th inning, Giancarlo Stanton couldn’t help but get himself into the mix, hitting his sixth consecutive home run against Boston, driving in Aaron Judge to give the Yankees a two-run lead.
In the Bombers’ first game of the season on Friday, the team hit three homers, giving them five total on the season already. It is extremely exciting to see the unbelievable power the Yankees contain paired with good relief pitching. If they can maintain that type of efficiency throughout the year, it will be incredibly difficult team to overcome.