The New York Yankees surprised most baseball pundits with their stellar play over the first half of the season. So it should shock nobody that the team from the Bronx began the second half of the baseball year performing on field in the same way they did over the first ninety or so games.
Clearly, this well-paid, but aging, team has players operating at peak efficiency in 2015. And, despite their advanced years, top stars like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have remained healthy to date. That’s been the real key to the success enjoyed by the Yankees so far.
The Bronx Bombers kicked off the second half of the season last weekend with a three-game series at home against the Seattle Mariners.
Graphic via sportzwriters
Game one, played Friday night, had Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka pitching for the home team. Yankees outfielder and former Met, Chris Young, homered in the second inning to give New York a 1-0 lead. The visitors got that run back the very next inning with a home run of their own.
Third baseman Chase Headley drove home Young with a single in the 4th inning making the score 2-1. However, another home run with a man aboard in the 5th inning gave the Mariners their first and only lead of the game. The Yankees played “small ball” and tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
And then, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) provided late game heroics by hitting the game-winning home run in the 7th inning. The final score was 4-3 in favor of the New Yorkers.
Game Two, played Saturday afternoon was also decided by a home run. However, the outcome favored the team from the Pacific Northwest. Yankees ace Michael Pineda pitched well, but had no answer when facing former Bronx Bomber Robinson Cano. The second baseman hit two 2-run home runs leading the Mariners to a 4-3 victory. Brian McCann clubbed a two-run round-tripper for the home team and a ninth inning rally plated one run, but fell short.
Graphic via marinersblog
The Sunday afternoon finale had Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, known as King Felix, pitching for the west coast squad. He faced off against former ace CC Sabathia and, as expected, pitched well into the middle of the game. The Mariners actually took the lead in the fifth inning on a run-scoring single by another former Bomber, Austin Jackson. But former Met Carlos Beltran drove in the tying run the very next winning.
Both teams removed their starting pitchers and put their faith in their bullpens. It worked well for the Yankees, but not for the Mariners.
With the game still tied in the 8th inning, first baseman Mark Teixeira slugged a home run to put the home team ahead by a score of 2-1. That turned out to be the final score when the New York closer retired the visitors in order in the ninth inning.
It seems obvious that the New York Yankees will be a factor in this year’s postseason if they remain healthy over the remaining 70 games. Given their advanced ages, there is no guarantee that will happen.
Graphic via koin