No Alex Rodriguez? No problem (at least for one game).
Despite being without their red hot slugger, the Yankees lineup didn’t miss a beat. After falling behind early, the Bronx Bombers belted three more homeruns, pushing their major league leading total to 27. The decisive blow, however, wasn’t a long ball, but rather a clutch two-out RBI single by Eric Chavez, who was filling in for Arod at third. Chavez’ game winning hit in the eighth set up Mariano Rivera for another save and gave the Yankees a small ounce of redemption in the team’s ALCS rematch against the Texas Rangers.
The reason the Yankees had to come from behind to earn the victory was because of Adrian Beltre, who knocked in four runs in his first three at bats against CC Sabathia. If not for Beltre’s yeoman effort, Sabathia might have cruised through the Rangers’ lineup, but even with the third baseman’s outburst, the Yankees’ ace still left the game leading 5-4 with one out in the seventh. Unfortunately for Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain eventually surrendered the lead and cost the big lefty a chance to record his first win of the season.
Entering the game, Rangers’ starter Alexi Ogando hadn’t allowed a run in 2011. What’s more, he had only surrendered two long balls over the first 54-plus innings of his brief major league career. By the time the night was over, however, the lanky right hander had been victimized for three. Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson all belted their fourth home runs off the fly ball prone hurler, who seemed ill equipped to deal with the Yankees power. Ogando wasn’t alone in that regard, however. During the series, the Yankees hit six homeruns, while the Rangers only hit one.
After Chamberlain blew the lead in the seventh, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera redeemed the bullpen by each throwing a shutout inning. For his effort, Soriano earned his first win as a Yankee, while Rivera earned his major league leading seventh save. However, games pitched might be the stat most worth monitoring. Both Chamberlain and Rivera now lead the league with nine appearances, while Soriano is right behind with seven. If the Yankees hope to maintain a strong bullpen throughout the season, that kind of workload can’t continue.
Most Used Bullpens in the Major Leagues
As of April 17, 2011