Offense: The Yankees only scored 4.67 runs per game, but that’s actually excellent considering the fact that the Sox have allowed just 3.63 runs per game since the All-Star break. Not only that, they did it against the Sox’s three best starters, beating Matsuzaka and Beckett, and tagging one of the league’s best relievers in Hideki Okajima in the finale.
Derek Jeter 7 for 11, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB
Melky Cabrera 4 for 8, RBI, R, BB, SacB, CS
Robinson Cano 3 for 10, 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB
Johnny Damon 3 for 13, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Bobby Abreu 2 for 11, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB, 2 K
Jason Giambi 1 for 6, K
Andy Phillips 1 for 5, K
Wilson Betemit went 0 for 1 with a K and a run scored as a pinch-runner after entering the opener in the seventh inning. Jose Molina and Shelley Duncan did not play in the series.
Rotation: Outstanding. Pettitte came up huge with seven strong innings in the opener, limiting the Sox to six leadoff hits (though two were homers and a third was a triple, which also scored) and a pair of walks while striking out six. Clemens then no-hit the Sox for 5 1/3 innings before allowing his only run (and one of only two hits) in six innings on a David Ortiz homer. Chien-Ming Wang then no-hit the Sox for six innings and shut them out for seven on a single hit while striking out five. Sure, Clemens and Wang walked a combined nine men in 13 innings, but I’ll take nine walks and three hits in 13 innings any time. The last time the Yankee starter earned the win in three consecutive games? Pettitte, Clemens, and Wang against the Tigers two weekends ago. On both occasions the Yankees allowed just six runs total across the three games.
Bullpen: Well, Kyle Farnsworth turned back into Farmaduke, but otherwise, excellent, which is how it tends to go when the starters are strong and the lesser arms in the pen aren’t required. Remember in my series preview when I said, “If Torre needs Britton tonight, something’s likely gone wrong?” Well nothing went wrong. Though here’s hoping Britton and Brian Bruney get some work in against the D-Rays this weekend, but not because things have gone wrong. The good news on Bruney, by the way, is with rosters expanding tomorrow, he’s here to stay. I just hope Torre gives him the opportunity to succeed or fail legitimately.
Mo pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings and struck out two to pick up saves in the first two games. His four-out save in a one-run game in game two was huge, even if he did face the turnaround of the Boston order. Those four outs took him 14 pitches, 11 of which were strikes. Joba Chamberlain actually allowed four baserunners and struck out just two in his 2 1/3 innings, but one of those baserunners was the walk of Youkilis after he got tossed in the finale, and he still hasn’t allowed a run in 11 1/3 major league innings. Edwar Ramirez threw that ball four to Youkilis as well as a pair of wild pitches, but struck out the hot-hitting Mike Lowell and stranded Youkilis at third to wrap up the shutout in the finale. Luis Vizcaino walked one and struck out one in a scoreless inning in the middle game to the delight of Roger Clemens.
Farmaduke faced five batters in relief of Vizcaino, one struck out, one walked, one singled, one homered. Fortunately the walk came after the homer. Still, he nearly blew the middle game and didn’t even finish his inning, necessitating that four-out save from Mo.
Conclusion: The Yankees quite simply played great baseball over the last three games and swept the best team in the majors as a result. I don’t know what more there is to say. As a special bonus, they are now a game up in the Wild Card race and tied in the loss column with the Mariners, who were swept by the Angels and have lost six straight.