Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yankees sweep Oakland and some postgame notes

The New York Yankees won 4-2 this afternoon over the Oakland Athletics sweeping the three game series.  The Yankees started off this road trip losing the first two games, they have now won the last four in a row.  They have run into good starting pitching but the offense has done well and the Yankees starters have performed really well which they have for most of the season.  It is really interesting that they don't get talked about a lot right now but they may be soon if this keeps up.  Ivan Nova has the highest ERA of the starters and that is in the high fours.  Every other starter has an ERA below four.  Here are some postgame notes as the Yankees will enjoy a day off on Thursday and head to Anaheim to get ready for a three game series there beginning Friday night.

“Our guys have pitched pretty well too,” Joe Girardi said. “Bartolo got us off to a great start, and Freddy’s been throwing the ball well, and I just felt that our club, we had a chance to win every game on this road trip, and we’ve been playing better. I just felt we had a chance today.”

Following the lead of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett gave the Yankees seven strong innings. He allowed a two-run homer in the first inning, then allowed one more hit the rest of the way. Girardi said Burnett got stronger as the game went along. 

“Once you’re out there you don’t think about it,” Burnett said, “but obviously you don’t want to be the guy that makes the winning come to an end either. I think we’ve done a good job here of late, and to keep it going, it’s up to us to go out and set the tone. Our defense and our hitters see that confidence and see we’re in those games. It helps them out as well.”

“We’ve beaten three pretty darned good pitchers,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Our guys have been terrific. You can’t say enough about the jobs Colon and Garcia have done. Those guys have been Godsends for us, and A.J. was terrific today.”

Said Girardi: “Pitching is the key, obviously. You have to pitch well to win a lot of games. Whenever we pitch well I get excited, but it’s good to see our offense swinging the bats. It’s great.”

The Yankees got their first three-game series sweep of the season. Every other series sweep this year has been a two-game set against the Orioles. With Sunday’s win in Seattle, this is also the Yankees first four-game winning streak of the year.

Girardi pointed out that this game wasn’t necessarily easy for Burnett. The final numbers are outstanding, but he was laboring, especially early. The difference, he said, was an adjustment away from his four-seam fastball, which was finishing too far up in the zone. “I think at times in the past I would stick to it and get beat up,” Burnett said. “I realized that the two-seamer kept me down in the zone today. To righties I used that more and changeups to lefties. Everything was down.”

The Yankees have won 10 straight against the A’s, and they’ve gone 24-4 against them since Girardi became manager in 2008. “That’s hard to believe because they’ve got a really good team,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Billy Beane has done a great job of gathering talent and great pitching.”

 When Swisher was traded to Chicago, Gonzalez was one of the primary pieces coming from the White Sox to the A’s. Swisher said he had no idea until this morning that he was facing a guy he was once traded for. “I just found out about that this morning, that we were in the same trade,” Swisher said. “No one likes getting traded, bro. You don’t really pay attention to who was on the other side of it. He’s a great pitcher, no doubt, and he’s got a lot of potential. I wish him the best of luck.”

 Derek Jeter had a double to move within 16 hits of 3000. “I can’t wait, man,” Swisher said. “I can’t wait to see that. I’ve seen someone hit 500 (home runs), seen Mariano save 500, but I’ve never seen 3,000 hits, man. I’m excited to see that.”

 Jeter has a seven-game hitting streak and has a .512 on-base percentage when leading off the first inning this year. That’s the highest such on-base percentage in the Majors.

 Russell Martin is hitless in his past 16 at-bats. On the positive side Mark Teixeira has a nine-game hitting streak.

 Mariano Rivera picked up his 14th save of the season. He’s now pitched in 1,002 games, tying Goose Gossage for 14th on baseball’s all-time games pitched list.

 Burnett had not won a game on the road since August 10, 2010, an 11-start streak without a victory. He was 0-5 with a 5.64 ERA. No other Major League starter failed to get at least one win on the road over that stretch (minimum 60 innings pitched) and only one had a higher ERA. Carl Pavano was the other pitcher.

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