The good vibes keep coming. The Yankees won yet another series this weekend, taking 2 out of 3 against the middling Chicago White Sox. It seems as if the team has finally figured out that the best way to offset shaky starting pitching is by good offense; they scored 10+ runs in both of their wins. The Yankees were able to maintain their healthy 6-game lead in the AL East with this series win, as each victory inches them closer and closer to October baseball.
The Yankees scored early and often in the first game, winning 13-6. They scored in 5 of the first 6 innings to take control of the game, highlighted by a 5-run second inning. In that inning, Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam, his first of two homers in that game. His second came in a 5-run fourth inning, a 2-run shot that made it 9-2 Yankees. Tex homered from both sides of the plate for the record 14th time in his career, and totaled 6 RBI. Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan also had 3 hits. White Sox starter Carlos Rodon couldn’t get an out in the 4th, and gave up a total of 8 runs in his short stint.
Nathan Eovaldi, on the other hand, did exactly what has been expected of him all season long. He went 5.2 innings and gave up 3 runs. He currently has a streak of 8 consecutive starts with at least 5 innings and no more than 3 runs allowed. Chicago did beat up on the Yankees bullpen, something that has been hard to do all year. They scored twice in the 8th, on a J.B. Shuck triple and subsequent wild pitch, and once in the 9th on an Adam LaRoche single. LaRoche had a game-high 4 hits for the losing side, which left 10 men on base and grounded into 3 double plays.
The White Sox took revenge in the second game with an 8-2 victory. John Danks stifled the excellent Yankees offense, allowing just 3 hits in 5.2 innings. They were able to get one back in the 9th, but it was too little, too late, as the game was far out of reach by then. Brian McCann had the “big game”, with one hit, a solo homer. The pinstripes could only manage 5 hits against Chicago’s staff.
Chicago got a boost in the middle innings with a 4-run 5th inning. Melky Cabrera hit a 3-run homer to cap off that rally that started against starter Bryan Mitchell and ended against Diego Moreno. Mitchell could only go 4 and gave up 4 runs, and Moreno gave up the other 4 in his 3 innings of relief. Melky Cabrera paced the White Sox with that homer and 3 RBI, and Alexei Ramirez had 2 hits and 2 RBI as well.
The rubber game of the series was dominated by one offensively-challenged player: Stephen Drew. In the 12-3 win, he finished with 4 RBI and a homer shy of the cycle. In another early-inning outburst, they scored 5 times in the 4th inning without Drew’s help. Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner had two-run singles, and sandwiched in between them was a Jacoby Ellsbury sacrifice fly to open the floodgates. Teixeira hit yet another home run in the 5th inning, his 29th of the year. Jeff Samardzija was not effective for Chicago, throwing over 100 pitches in 4.2 innings. He gave up 9 runs on 8 hits.
The White Sox were kept in check by Ivan Nova, who continued his solid return from Tommy John surgery. He allowed just 5 hits and 1 run in 6 innings of work. The only dagger was an RBI single by Cabrera. The other two runs came via solo shots from Ramirez and Geovany Soto in the 7th. Chicago only had 3 runners in scoring position all game long.
An overall dominant offensive series was capped off by these good (and bad) performances:
Offensive MVP: Chase Headley– Quietly went 5-10 with a hit in each game this series.
Cold Streak: Brett Gardner– Continuing his post All-Star slump with one hit in three games.
Pitcher of the Series: Ivan Nova– Impressive again coming back from elbow surgery with 6 strong innings.
Mound Misery: Bryan Mitchell/Diego Moreno– All they needed to do was keep the game close, and they couldn’t do it.