And that title has nothing to do with a certain designated hitter in that jersey number. Well, not entirely, that is. Look, things have certainly been gelling right for the Yankees recently, and part of that is absolutely due to the offense led primarily by the guys frequenting the top of the order (Ellsbury and Gardner) and then those big power-hitting guys a few notches down on the roster (Rodriguez and Teixeira, specifically).
Really, everyone is kind of clicking in some way, and no where is that more apparent than the back-end of the bullpen. I’ve been calling them the “Dynamic Duo”, but I’ve also heard them referred to as a “2-Headed Monster”. Either way, a game that ends with Betances and Miller polishing off whatever game the Yankees are winning is always (knock on wood) a sure sign of a Yankee win.
Adam Warren started the ball rolling for the pitching staff tonight against the visiting Orioles and was really sharp there for the majority of his outing, right up until his 5th inning. Overall, he threw 89 pitches over his 4.2 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and striking out 2 batters. In the 5th inning, he walked the first 2 batters before a single scored one runner. A strikeout put things back in order, but then another single loaded the bases and a force out scored a second runner.
Reliever Justin Wilson came on to end that 5th inning with a quick strike out, and after 2 groundouts to lead off the 6th, a double and a hit-by-pitch put runners on base. The ball was handed over to Martin who promptly walked a batter to load the bases before a single scored 2 more Orioles’ runs. Martin finally finished the 6th and 2 outs of the 7th before it was time for the “Twin Terrors” (more in a moment).
Now, before the Yankees will send up their closing set, they need to be in the position where a save is necessary — hence offensive power. In the 1st, Ellsbury led off with a single (extending his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games) and his Power Twin Gardner hit a double to put them both in scoring position. Ellsbury scored on Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly, and then Gardner scored on Brian McCann’s 2-run home run hit into the right field seats.
Then in the 3rd, Ellsbury and Gardner led off that inning with a walk and a single to have the Power Twins on the corners. Well, until Gardner stole 2nd to put them in scoring position again. Then with 2 outs and an intentional walk to McCann to load the bases, it’s Carlos Beltran’s double to score the Power Twins; McCann was out on his attempt to score at home, ending the inning.
That would be a quick 5 Yankee runs to an eventual 4 Oriole runs when the Dynamic Duo entered the ring (and put up a better fight than whatever that was last weekend). Dellin Betances’ 18 pitches took him to finish the 7th and the entire 8th, including 1 strikeout; Andrew Miller’s 9th inning was a flawless 9 pitches, with 1 strikeout. And they both still sit with a 0.00 ERA. This earned Betances his 4th win of the season, and Miller his 13th (as in “Lucky 13“) save.
Final score: 5-4 Yankees.
It only took 30 games to state what was becoming glaringly obvious. In his post game press conference, Girardi officially referred to Miller as the closer, a role he’s certainly filled with purpose and success. And I’d like to think that Miller fills that role well partly because of his own abilities and partly because of his partner in crime (had to) Betances to set him up and then the rest of the team setting up for a save opportunity. And the only way the Power Twins are scoring runs is because those middle of the order guys are hitting them in through sac flies and home runs and double and every other combination possible.
Basically, the rise of the Power Twins and Dynamic Duo are simply a really vivid display of the teamwork and overall click in the clubhouse. Individuals earn statistical greatness, but it’s teams that win games. And I believe that’s why the Yankees are ranked 1st in the AL East, 3 games ahead of the 2nd place Rays. (FYI: the Yankees are tied with the Tigers at 19-11, and a half-game behind the Astros to lead the entire AL.)
Also, for those with some morbid curiosity to follow the deep dive into the mustachioed adventures of the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees have since updated their scoreboard pictures to accurately feature the new facial hair growth of the guys. In other words, in case you hadn’t seen pictures or been up close with the players recently, you can see them spread across the 101 feet by 59 feet of the center field big screen.
Note: To clarify my own nicknames for the four major players in the current Yankees roster — the “Power Twins” are Ellsbury and Gardner, and the “Dynamic Duo” are Betances and Miller. But feel free to refer to them with your particular favorite moniker.