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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Chase Headley #12 of the New York Yankees hits an RBI double in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 15, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The formula works: New York Yankees vs White Sox recap

The Yankees welcomed the AL Central first place White Sox to the Bronx for a weekend series May 13-15.  The Yankees were playing much improved baseball and have consecutive series wins against Boston and Kansas City under their belt.  The White Sox have been a bit of a surprise team thus far this season and the Yankees would have to step up their game to keep their winning form.

Sale and another injury

Facing Chris Sale in the series opener, the Yankees knew going in they would be in for a tough fight.  Sending the struggling Luis Severino out to the mound only made it that much more crucial to make their at bats count.  Both pitchers came in as polar opposites in the early going of 2016.  Sale was 7-0 with a 1.79 ERA and Severino 0-5 with a 6.12 ERA.

Two storylines in this game would make this a short and sweet affair.  At least from a White Sox perspective.  Chris Sale was his usual dominating self.  His only mistake would be a home run given up to Chase Headley.  Headley’s second home run in as many games would be the only blemish to the scorecard as Sale would allow 5 singles in a 99- pitch, complete game performance.  71 of these pitches went for strikes, mostly mid-90s fastballs and unhittable sliders.

The second storyline of the night might have a little more longevity for Yankee fans than trying to forget a loss to possibly the top starter in the American League.  Severino would leave the game after two were out in the third and grabbing his elbow while talking to the trainer on the mound.  He certainly had not been effective up to that point in the game, having allowed seven runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts.  Severino needed 81 pitches to get those 8 outs.  He was later diagnosed with a triceps strain and was headed to the DL.

Was this something that just popped up on Friday night or could it be used to explain his command issues this season?  Hopefully, it is not something that keeps him out long term and Severino can get back on the mound soon.  Nick Goody came in and provided a solid 3.1 innings in relief.  He combined with Chasen Shreve and Kirby Yates to pitch 6.1 innings of shutout baseball.  The damage had already been done and the White Sox took the opener 7-1.  Not to be lost in this game, Gary Sanchez made his major league debut, going 0-4 with a strikeout.

Nova and the Magnificent Three

Ivan Nova would get his second start in place of the injured C.C. Sabathia on Saturday.  He was very solid in this one and looked better as the team is getting him stretched out.  With Severino going on the DL, Nova will be in the rotation for the foreseeable future.  Nova would go 5.2 innings on Saturday, giving up 4 hits and 1 run, a solo home run to Todd Frazier.  He only needed 74 pitches and got 13 of his 22 outs on grounders.  Not a bad day and the Yankees are certainly going to need this kind of effort going forward.

The Yankee offense came from the 7-8-9 hitters in the order.  Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, and Austin Romine combined to go 5-for-9, with Hicks and Didi getting the RBIs on back to back hits in the second inning against Sox starter Jose Quintana.  The rest of the lineup only managed two walks and were a combined 0-for-19.

The Yankee pitching was the story on this day as Nova and the three-headed monster of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman would make the limited offense stand up.  The trio would put into play exactly the plan envisioned when Chapman was acquired and shorten the game.  The three would strikeout eight of the eleven batters they would face with the White Sox looking pretty helpless and only managing a single against Miller.

Executing a game plan just as it was drawn up gave the Yankees a 2-1 win and with Masahiro Tanaka going to the mound on Sunday, they would be set up nicely in an effort to win their third series in a row.

Sticking with the formula

The Yankee bullpen would once again come up large in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon as Tanaka would struggle through five innings of work.  After giving up three home runs in his previous start, Tanaka would struggle a bit with his control attempting to keep the ball down.  His day would see four runs on eight hits with three walks and seven punchouts.  He would leave the game trailing 4-3.

The back and forth game would see the Yankees retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth on Carlos Beltran’s two-run home run, the 400th of his career.  He is the fourth switch hitter to reach 400 home runs and the fifth player with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases in his career.

That set the stage for the three-headed monster of Betances, Miller, and Chapman to do its thing on back to back days.  Betances would immediately get into trouble as consecutive hits by Jose Abreu, Frazier, and Melky Cabrera would tie the game at 5 apiece.  Only a groundout and consecutive strikeouts prevented further damage.

A revitalized Chase Headley would hit a pinch-hit double in the bottom half of the inning and the Yankees would add a McCann solo home run in the eighth to finish off the series win, 7-5.  For the weekend, the bullpen put up some serious numbers.  13.2 innings, 7 hits, 1 run, with 18 strikeouts.  Three series wins in a row, against quality opponents, were just what this team needed.  They finished the homestand at 7-3 and head out on the road for a quick seven games against Arizona and Oakland.