Brandon McCarthy was at it again, pitching with the kind of ferocity and accuracy the Yankees certainly needed in their pitchers tonight. It was a good example that carried over to the back bullpen and ultimate allowed the Yankees to grab that much-needed victory. McCarthy threw 91 pitches over his 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and striking out 4 Rays’ batters. It should be noted that 3 of those strikeouts came in the 7th inning alone, in what was dubbed an “immaculate inning“, meaning it took just 9 pitches to get those 3 strikeouts. It was certainly something to see.
The Rays’ runs came as a result of a long 2-out solo home run in the 4th and a triple that scored on a ground out in the 6th inning. It would the only time the Rays even really accumulated much off the Yankee pitching staff, a nice turnaround after some rather odd games leading up to tonight’s.
Meanwhile, the Yankees took advantage of the Rays’ starter when he started to tire in the middle of the game. In the 5th, Young was hit by a pitch on the back (and oddly no one was warned or ejected or stormed the field) and then scored on Chase Headley’s double (nice to see him back after his scary hit-by-pitch, oh so much more than “just a graze“). Headley then scored on Brendan Ryan’s ground-rule double.
And just for insurance (something they certainly needed), the Yankees made the 6th inning rather interesting. Jeter led off with a single, snapping his 0-for-28 hitless streak (his record is 32 at-bats without a hit, by the way). Then the Rays’ pitcher loaded the bases with walks to McCann and Teixeira. I should mention there were no outs, so this should be a nice gift for the Yankees to jump ahead. One out later, Brett Gardner stepped up to the plate and ended up hitting a long ball that was just a few feet shy of a grand slam, caught by the Rays’ leaping right fielder, but scoring Jeter on the sacrifice fly.
That one extra run in the 6th was all the Yankees needed to cling to their 3-2 lead because the back bullpen was called on to make it stick. The back bullpen is referred to as the relievers that are relied upon to throw the last 2-3 innings of the game, especially in a tight game and keep their team in the win column. And if you’ve been following all season, I think you know where we go from here — Dellin Betances’ 8th (breaking Mariano Rivera’s record of single season strikeouts for a reliever at 131) and David Robertson’s 9th (and 37th save this season) gifted the Yankees with tonight’s win.
Also, tonight, our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with Carlos and Jessica Beltran and their two daughters, as they mourn the loss of their son. Beltran flew back to New York and was understandably given as much time as he needed to be with his family during this time. The Beltran family will not be far from our hearts and prayers for these next few days.
From Beltran’s personal Facebook page (translated):
“Life took away the blessing of having my first boy. I believe in God and I am thankful for all His many blessings, like my beautiful family, friends, fans, and career.
“Everything happens and will happen according to God’s perfect timing and my wife and I accept it that way.
“Thank you for all the love and messages.”
The Yankees are on their way home for their last homestand of the season to face the Blue Jays and the Orioles for 4 games a piece, before ending the season at Fenway. It’s hard to believe the season’s almost over. Today, I was almost certain it was just a few weeks after Spring Training. But then, I can’t wait for another Spring already. Maybe it’s because of the enveloping sense of hope and possibilities that linger every Spring. Maybe it’s the chance to see the Yankees and potential Yankees and dream of that elusive next Championship. Or just maybe I’m just missing Florida.
And I’m getting ahead of myself… there’s still 11 games to play of 2014. I mean, who knows what can happen in 2 weeks…