Schott: Yankees ‘D’eliver in Subway Series

(Didi Gregorius tags David Wright on a caught-stealing on Saturday afternoon – Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire)

The Yankees entered the Subway Series this weekend in a different way than other seasons, as the focus lately has been on the Mets. They battled and found a way to win the series, taking two out of three at Citi Field

Here are 4 things the Yankees can take away from the Subway Series, in honor of the subway line that goes to their home, Yankee Stadium.

1) The Yankees are still the Yankees

Despite entering this series with far less hype than the Mets and without Alex Rodriguez due to them not being able to use the designated hitter, the Yankees proved once again that, no matter who they put on the field, they find a way to get it done.

They lost the opener on Friday night 5-1, but came right back on Saturday with a 5-0 win behind great pitching from Michael Pineda and a three-run first inning homer from Carlos Beltran.

On Sunday night, the Yankees couldn’t get a thing off Matt Harvey, but once he was gone, they lit up the Mets bullpen. They touched up Hansel Robles for five runs in the sixth inning, with Beltran getting a two-run double and then Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer to make it 5-1. They ripped it open with five more in the eighth, capped by a Greg Bird three-run homer that made it 11-1.

By that point, you could hear a pin drop at Citi Field, and the Mets faithful headed to the exits. They have dominated the Mets so much in interleague play that this wasn’t a surprise.

The Yankees also are very much alive in the American League East race, despite being largely written off a week ago. They gained two games in the standings on the Blue Jays and trail by just 2 1/2 heading up there for a three-game series beginning Monday night. The Yankees also have a favorable schedule after that, so expect them to come back and win this division.

2) Pineda and Sabathia Deliver

Michael Pineda had a nice start for the Yankees on Saturday, as he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on four hits, with four strikeouts and a walk.

He needed this to show he is still the power pitcher the Yankees want him to be, and to bounce back from a tough outing on September 12th against the Blue Jays, when he allowed four runs on six hits, three of which were home runs, in 5 1/3 innings.

On Sunday night, CC Sabathia gave the Yankees just what they needed in the series finale, as he allowed one run on five hits and three walks, and struck out seven. The key to the game was the first inning when, after he allowed a run on a David Wright double, he got Michael Cuddyer to pop up to first base with the bases loaded to end the inning. The Mets did not threaten the rest of the time he was in there.

Sabathia, who entered the game 4-9 with a 4.93 ERA, had his second strong start. Last Monday, he allowed no runs on three hits in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision that the Yankees won late.

3) Yankees hurt by not having DH, but Girardi would not change rule

On Saturday morning, Joe Girardi was asked about Alex Rodriguez not being able to play in this series since the National League does not have the designated hitter.

This brought up the larger debate of what to do with the problem of having the designated hitter in the American League and the pitcher hit in the National League.

Girardi said of the solution to the problem, “What’s the solution? You know, I actually like the difference in the two leagues. As far as the solution, I wouldn’t change it. There are some things that I would change. One of the things I don’t understand is why our pitchers don’t hit when they go to National League cities in the minor leagues. The first time they hit is maybe four or five years after they’re drafted, and that makes no sense to me. I would have them hitting in the minor leagues. As far as changing at this level, I wouldn’t do anything.”

On Sunday afternoon, Girardi opened his press conference with some distressing news related to the topic of not having the designated hitter for this series.

“Wednesday (in Toronto) will not be (Masahiro) Tanaka. Wednesday will be (Ivan) Nova. Friday night, running to first base, he (Tanaka) felt his hammy grab a little bit. We waited to see how he felt Saturday. He had an MRI late afternoon after the game yesterday. He has a Grade 1 strain. He will not start on Wednesday. Our hope is he only misses one start,” said Girardo, who said it is Tanaka’s right hamstring that is hurt.

On having his pitchers hit, Girardi said, “It’s frustrating. You get concerned whenever your pitchers have to hit and you try to do everything you can to keep them from getting hurt and trying to prepare them. Some things that you can’t prepare is that sudden burst that they have to make, and I think it happened in him trying to beat that play to first on the bunt, so it’s frustrating. We have to deal with it, Nova has to step up for us on Wednesday and, hopefully, he’ll (Tanaka) will just miss that one turn (in the rotation).”

Hearing this news brought back memories of what the Yankees have dealt with when their pitchers have run the bases. In 2006, their ace at the time, Chien Ming-Wang, busted his ankle running the bases in Houston in 2006, and he was never the same again.

4) Girardi has 14 relievers and he’s going to use them

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi micromanaged Saturday’s win against the Mets so much that he made a 5-0 game feel a lot closer than it was.

The “conga line from the bullpen,” as Mets announcer Howie Rose called it, began when Justin Wilson came into the game with two on base and one out in the sixth inning. Wilson got out of trouble by striking out David Wright and Lucas Duda, and he went 1 1/3 innings with four strikeouts overall.

Girardi then turned to Caleb Cotham for the last out of the seventh, and he struck out Kevin Plawecki.

Dellin Betances was in next and he pitched his customary eighth inning, retiring the Mets in order and notching two strikeouts. With a 5-0 lead, this was hard to fathom, as Betances has been the workforce of the bullpen, notching 76 1/3 innings this season.

The ninth bordered on the absurd, as Girardi brought in James Pazos for Daniel Murphy and got him to ground out. Chris Martin came in next, and he struck out David Wright and then allowed two infield hits to Michael Cuddyer and Wilmer Flores, and that was it for him.

Girardi actually was forced to bring in his closer, Andrew Miller, to get the last out, which was a force out from Travis d’Arnaud. Miller has pitched in 54 games this season, so this really was a game he should not have been needed. Also, closers in games like this could be disastrous, as  the Mets’ Jeurys Familia was pitching with a four-run lead on Friday night.

Girardi said of his use of Betances in the eighth, “The idea of using Betances there is where they are in the lineup (9-1-2), and if he can shut it down, maybe you don’t have to use a Miller. It almost worked, but not quite.”

Girardi said of bringing in Miller when he did, “Well, you want to give him a chance to get two hitters out before the tying run comes up.”

The Yankees made some history by becoming just the sixth team to use seven or more pitchers in a shutout.



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