Jun
14

Winning streaks, close games, and hoping for a blowout

By

(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Yankees have won six straight games and outside of the series opener against the Mets, they all have one thing in common: they were close games. Three of the last four games were decided by one run and four of the last five were decided by two runs or less. The one exception was a game separated by three runs. The bullpen has been worked hard but they continue to get the job done, preserving all those small leads. Joe Girardi is pushing all the right buttons right now.

David Robertson‘s expected return tomorrow will be a huge boost to the relief corps, especially if all this close game nonsense continues. The Yankees have played just 11 games decided by four of more runs in the last calendar month, a span that covers 28 games. They’re 8-6 in one-run games and 14-9 in two-run games overall, which means more than one-third of their contests this season have been separated by no more than a bloop and a blast. That’s a lot of tight baseball and with Mariano Rivera out for the season, a lot of stressful late innings.

The offense has continued to struggle with men in scoring position, particularly with the bases loaded, but the Yankees are averaging 5.2 runs per game during this 16-4 stretch. It’s not like they’re scratching and clawing for every run, they’ve just happened to score almost exactly five runs per game and not ten in one game and one in the next. The pitching staff has been doing its job and the timing has just worked out that every night features a close game that could go either way. It happens from time to time, and right now everything is breaking New York’s way.

Wins are wins and I’ll take them in any shape or form, but all the close games of late have been quite nerve racking. A few blowout wins in Washington this weekend — which won’t happen because their pitching staff is insane — would be very much appreciated just so every game doesn’t have me on the edge of my seat. A stress-free win would be appreciated at some point. Get Freddy Garcia some garbage time innings, ease Robertson back into things, maybe get Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano off their feet for a few innings … we could all use a little of that.

Categories : Musings

30 Comments»

  1. 28 this year says:

    Blowouts would be nice but I like how each day the Yankees are consistently scoring enough to win. Like you said, its better than 10 one day and 1 the next.

  2. CS Yankee says:

    Your idea doesn’t sound like great entertainment. I guess going 16-4 might just be spoiling us all a bit.

    The Atlanta game the previos night; where CC gave up 3 in the 1st and another in the 7th(?) I still felt like it was going to work out as a “W”. Arod was either going 6-4-3 DP or yard it seemed. However, when he hit that ball I didn’t even jump up and my wife asked “what’s wrong?”. I replied that it looked like a 2-run double and we would still be down two and I wanted a Slam while i was clapping. Swish’s dinger made it too nice.

    We all need to enjoy this play (and results) as we will likely have another bad stretch or two over the next three months.

  3. JohnC says:

    Nationals will present a challenge. Very impressive team. Can’t wait to see phenom Bryce Harper. Catch a break missing Strasburg. Is Wang gonna pitch Sunday?

  4. Mick Foley says:

    DOES MIKE AXISA HAVE THE TESTICULAR FORTITUDE?!?!?!

  5. jjyank says:

    Weren’t people complaining a while ago about how bad the Yankees were in close game? I for one am thrilled that they’re righting that ship. The blowouts will come, I’m sure. But the close games have made for some good baseball, even with the hightened blood pressure.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Yup. They absolutely were.

      Winning games like last night’s are hugely important. We remember the blowouts, but those games where you have to just find a way to win are just as important.

  6. vin says:

    ” They’re 8-6 in one-run games and 14-9 in two-run games overall, which means more than one-third of their contests this season have been separated by no more than a bloop and a blast”

    I wonder if the increase in close games has carried through to the rest of the league, or is it an anomaly with the Yankees. On the surface, it makes sense to me… Offense is down, pitching is up, decent parity… these games feel more like the post season than regular season.

  7. CountryClub says:

    The pitching staff has been great. They now have the 4th best ERA in the AL. Feels like just a couple of weeks ago where they were second to last.

    I honestly havent been stressed out at all during this stretch. When the games are close, I always feel like the Yanks will score the run or two they need to get the W.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It’s a nice feeling to watch the team be behind and have some confidence that they’ll still come back.

      Axisa should start bringing back “The Yankees will bring the tying run to the plate” now.

  8. Eirias says:

    Best record in the American League. Fantastic.

  9. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    Didnt you call this hot streak? I seem to recall when things were pretty much at their worst this season, and my neurotic Yankee fan friends were driving me insane, you predicted a 9 out of 10 or 16 out of 20 type run. Don’t think you predicted the nail bighters, though but KUDOS.

  10. MannyGeee says:

    I love everything I am reading right now. the pendulum swinging back to the Yankees winning the close ones instead of losing them is a beautiful thing.

    I too would love a 12 run game as much as the next guy, but I will take ‘pitching and defense (C)’ wins at this clip over winning by 12-1 today and losing 6-1 tomorrow

  11. BK2ATL says:

    We’re in a great little stretch right now. Not playing our best baseball, but we’re finally getting strong starting pitching, timely hitting, and our bullpen as a whole is shutting teams down.

    I really think that we need to send Phelps down instead of Eppley. Garcia holds the long man role down, and Phelps is getting rusty from the lack of use. Eppley’s been this year’s Cory Wade so far.

    I think we will sweep Washington as well. Like the Atlanta series, it won’t come easy, but I think we’ll be able to pull out each game. Will be interesting to see how Hughes and Nova handle this lineup.

  12. Kevin says:

    I like how we’ve done because chances are in the postseason..close games will sadly be the norm.
    If we win most of them by blowouts en route to 28..I’ll be fine with that though.

  13. Tut says:

    Does this bring up the importance of run differential as a meter to judge a team? does too many one run wins indicate luck? Can a few ground balls going through for the other team change the results?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Years ago, Bill James did work showing that a team’s record in games decided by three or more runs had far more predictive value than games decided by one run. So much can happen in a one run game.

  14. Deep Thoughts says:

    Wait a minute. Do you actually mean to suggest that games against above-.500 teams are competitive? Nobody could have predicted this.

    If you find this “nervewracking” try some nice Bigelow Green Tea or transcendental meditation.

  15. KL says:

    And Yankee fans wonder why so many people hate them. They are on a hot streak, and playing very enjoyable games against good teams, and one of their top blogs is now complaining about them playing too many close games and not blowing enough teams out. Because it is nervewracking?

    Can you only enjoy games where they win 10-0? Geez.

  16. Whitney Rothe says:

    Pitching has been great. Clutch hits have come through late in games. What is there to complain about?

  17. LiterallyFigurative says:

    The best thing about this run has been the pitching. As long as you keep your team in the game and go 6+, you can win. Plus, with the homerun power we have, a small deficit is never too much to overcome.

    The offense is far more consistent (in terms of runs scored each game).

    Each group doesn’t have to press or feel like it has to carry the team.

  18. tommy cassella says:

    baseball is really a strange game. yankee fans were rooting hard against the braves and now we have to root for them because they are playing the oriole’s.

  19. tommy cassella says:

    the yanks did the mets a big favor by sweeping atlanta and washington on the road. let’s see if the mets can return the favor be beating the oriole’s tonight.

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