After dropping the first contest of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees were 5.5 games behind their foes, still the leaders in the American League East division to this day. Now, after taking the last two contests, the Bombers are much closer, 3.5 games behind, and can close the gap even more if they come out on top Thursday.
The Yankees won a hotly contested 4-3 affair last night, in great part thanks, once again, to their elite bullpen. On Tuesday, the unit kept the Rays scoreless (and hitless) through six episodes, and last night, they kept them silent for 2.2 innings.
Yankeesâ€™ outfielder implied that the elite relief corps make his life easier and a little boring. â€œAnd thatâ€™s a good thing,â€ he told Jordan Horrobin of MLB.com. â€œItâ€™s kind of like whenever you see [Jonathan] Loaisiga, [Chad Green] and [Aroldis Chapman] come in, you automatically in the outfield feel like theyâ€™re gonna get this job done because theyâ€™ve done it so many times consistently.
â€œTheyâ€™re dominant and we are, as hitters, trying to be just like those guys right now.â€
The Yankeesâ€™ 2.73 bullpen ERA is the lowest in the junior circuit.
â€œWe have a number of established guys that are quality pitchers,â€ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. â€œAnd weâ€™ve had a number of guys that have taken that next step in their progression to become key members of the pitching staff.â€
The Yankees can rely on their elite bullpen
Loaisiga was called to clean up a mess in the seventh yesterday: two runners in scoring position and only one out. One of them scored on a chopper, but the right-hander got a strike out and a ground out to end the threat.
Chad Green took care of the eight and Aroldis Chapman, not without a couple of scares in the form of walks, got the save.
â€œWeâ€™re still not playing anywhere near our best baseball, obviously,â€ Boone said. â€œToo many mistakes tonight that, fortunately, we were able to overcome. But I do like the way the guys are competing right now. And theyâ€™re doing enough to hold on and win tonight; back-to-back wins against a really good team.â€