Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Yankees checking all the boxes

The New York Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2 Tuesday night behind a complete team effort. It marks the club's fourth win in five games and for the most part they are winning with efforts that check all the boxes of a complete win.

The Yanks have been getting solid pitching, good offensive production, excellent defense and even some quality base running. Remember the four facets Alex Rodriguez mentioned and discussed here? The Yankees are beginning to find some consistency among them, allowing for the opportunity to win ballgames.

Tuesday night exemplified what teams strive for each contest; high-quality efforts from all parts of the game. Nathan Eovaldi tossed seven innings of one-run ball. Dellin Betances looked the best he has all season and Andrew Miller locked down his fifth save in as many chances.

The Bombers received home runs from Chris Young and Stephen Drew (they lead the majors with 20), scoring five runs in all. The Yankees turned four double plays and once again did not make any errors (six straight games now). Finally, the Yanks received two stolen bases, one each from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner (they have three and five respectively on the season).

Eovaldi showed great poise when he allowed runners on base. He gave up a league-high 223 hits in 2014, so he still needs to work on the number of base runners he’s allowing (nine Tuesday via eight hits and one walk), but he never got worked up when the Tigers had men on the bags. That’s saying something against a team that came into the series averaging 5.7 runs per game. The Tigers have scored just four runs in the first two games of the series.

Betances has slowly been finding his form and Tuesday night marked his best effort of the season. His fastball reached 96 mph and his curveball was excellent dropping from 12-to-6 just like last season when he dominated hitters. With Betances and Miller throwing well, the Yankees will be difficult to overcome with leads in the eighth inning.

Young is absolutely on fire. He leads the team, or is tied for the team lead, in six standard offensive categories (doubles, homers, AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS). Young had been getting playing time with Gardner's wrist injury and then with Carlos Beltran missing time due to illness. Tuesday, he simply got the start because he is a better option right now than Beltran.

Drew has eight hits this season, but four of them have left the yard. He is slashing .190/.286/.500. While it would be nice if he got on base a bit more often, if he is going supply power and drive in runs (he has eight RBI, fourth best on the team as the #8 hitter) combined with playing above-average defense (which he is at two positions), the Yankees will not be moving him anytime soon.

Seeing Ellsbury and Gardner begin to wreck havoc on the bases is a great sign. While the Yankees will take all the homers, it’s nice to put pressure on pitchers when possible. Often, when pitchers are worried about base runners, they make mistakes to the middle of the lineup hitters. The Yankees can take advantage of those situations with Ellsbury and Gardner.

Tuesday’s win had it all; just like a couple others in the past few days. Once the Yankees begin to string strong play together on a daily basis the series wins will come as well. Complete efforts and series wins are the focus as the Yankees continue to shake off their 1-4 start.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a correspondent for FantasyPros, where he writes a weekly column covering the closer/bullpen situations around Major League Baseball. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.