Winning Ways

April 12, 2010 – 10:24 am

CC dealsNYY 7, Tampa Bay 3. This was classic Yankee strategy. When you are up against the other team’s ace, just keep the game close, work the pitch count so that you get to their bullpen early, and then tee off on their middle relief. And that’s exactly what they did. At first it looked like Bad A.J. Burnett had showed up yet again, as A.J. had absolutely no clue as to where the strike zone was in the first inning. But he managed to escape giving up only two runs, and from the second on it was nothing but Good A.J. — shutting out the Rays for the next six innings, going three-up-three-down in five of those innings thanks to two double plays and a nice pick off of B.J. Upton in the fourth that I suspect even made Andy Pettitte a bit envious.

For the Rays, James Shields was pitching even better than A.J. — except that the Yankees were quickly running up his pitch count. And so Shields left with a 2-1 lead with one out in the sixth, and the Yankees immediately took control of the game. Three pitches later Jorge Posada hit one in to the left-field bleachers to give NY the lead, and three innings
and three relievers later it was a comfortable 7-2 lead. With Joba and committee for the eighth, and Mo for the ninth, that’s basically game-set-match.

The Yankees finish this initial road trip at 4-2, and quite frankly, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the season. Baseball is all about winning individual series, and they opened the season on the road against their two top rivals in the East (and possibly two best teams in the AL outside the Yankees), and they won both series 2-1. Its way too early to be assessing individual performances, but as a team so far all the pieces are working together quite well.

Photo: Yahoo Sports

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