Friday, April 25, 2014

New York Yankees rise from the tar

On the same day New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games after he was caught with a slathering of pine tar on his neck Wednesday night, the club went out and pummeled American League East rival Boston Red Sox into submission.

The Bombers tallied 14 runs and forced Red Sox manager John Farrell to use outfielder Mike Carp to wrap things up on the mound. New York received a fine performance from CC Sabathia as the Yankees turned the page on Wednesday’s embarrassing event.

Coming off such an emotional letdown, the Yankees performance Thursday had a sprinkling of positives throughout the lineup and pitching corps.

Jacoby Ellsbury continued to mock the Red Sox ripping three more hits, including two doubles. He drove in three runs in the process.

Derek Jeter added two more hits to his career resume. The Yankees' captain is hitting .288 and hopes to continue defying age in his final season.

Mark Teixeira launched his first home run of the season and drew three walks. The Yankees will need Teixeira to remain healthy and be a force in the middle of the lineup. A keen eye to match any power letdown will be important.

Brett Gardner failed to get a hit, but was on base four times via three walks and an error. He turned that into four runs, stealing two bases along the way. It’s been a slow start for Gardner with the bat, but when he gets on base he can change the complexion of a game in a hurry.

Brian Roberts is warming up. He’s registered three straight two-hit games upping his average above the Mendoza line to .220. Roberts crossed the plate four times Thursday and stole a base.

Yangervis Solarte came back from a one-day rest and snapped a 0-for-14 skid with two hits and four RBI. He’s shown the ability to break out of two mini slumps thus far. If he can continue to show that he won't get into major slides at the plate, manager Joe Girardi will find him at-bats.

On the mound Sabathia was able to get the Yankees through six innings of two-run ball. He had a hiccup in the third inning, which seems to be the one thing hindering him this season, but he kept the damage to a minimum. He struck out eight batters and he’ll need to continue to hone his repertoire of off-speed pitches to coincide with the oft-mentioned slower fastball.

Adam Warren continues to grow into his role at the back end of the bullpen. He recorded five outs requiring just 22 pitches. If Warren and Shawn Kelley can keep on retiring batters in the seventh and eighth innings, the Yankees will have a more than formidable presence at the back end of the bullpen.

That’s leads to the final notable occurrence from Thursday night’s victory. David Robertson made his first appearance since coming off the disabled list and looked just as good as he did throughout spring training and before suffering the groin strain that sidelined him. Robertson has not looked the least bit concerned about taking over the closer role from Mariano Rivera.

So, after a mind-boggling incident, the Yankees were able to sweep it all to the curb and move on. As Jeter said last night to the media, there will be other strange incidents along the way. It is how the team handles them and so far, this team gives the impression of having short-term memories.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.