That was a fun series. The Mariners came into the Bronx and swept the Yankees earlier this year, and this week the Yankees returned the favor with a sweep of their own in Seattle. Thursday night’s 6-3 win clinched it. Let’s recap the club’s third straight win:
- Ace Whitley: Chase freakin’ Whitley, man. What a beast. As I noted on Twitter, he is basically pitching like Michael Pineda, only with way more ground balls. Whitley held the Mariners to two runs in 7.2 innings on Thursday, striking out six and walking zero. I know he’s a recently converted reliever and all that, but I don’t get why he was lifted at only 82 pitches. He threw 87 last time out. Don’t you have to get him up to 95 or so? Especially since the Yankees had a four-run lead with the bases empty and two outs in the inning? Whatever. Whitley’s a damn stud. What a story.
- Two At a Time: The last time lefty Roenis Elias started against the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury took him deep for a leadoff homer. Ellsbury took him deep again on Thursday, this time with Derek Jeter on base for a two-run jack in the first. I love early runs. Two innings later, Alfonso Soriano’s bat rose from the dead and drove in two with a double into the left-center field gap. Jeter and Ellsbury scored. An inning after that, Jeter sliced a single to right to plate two more runs. Roberts and John Ryan Murphy scored on that hit. The six runs are the most the Yankees have scored since the final game of the Cardinals series two and a half weeks ago. Geez.
- Bullpeners: Matt Thornton came on in relief Whitley to face Robinson Cano and, of course, he walked him. Kyle Seager followed that with a fly out to end the inning. Lefties have a .342 OBP against Thornton this year, which is entirely too high for a guy whose only job is to get lefties out. Shawn Kelley faced three batters in the ninth, allowed two doubles, then gave way to David Robertson. It was Kelley’s first appearance since coming off the disabled list. Robertson struck out two to close out the win.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury’s homer extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He later left the game with tightness in his hip … Jeter had three hits and a walk. He went 7-for-12 (.583) with two walks in the series … everyone in the lineup reached base at least once except Brett Gardner and Yangervis Solarte … Ellsbury, Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki all made nice jumping catches at the wall to take away extra-base hits … the Yankees swept a three-game series for the first time this season.
MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are now heading south to Oakland for a three-game weekend series against the Athletics. David Phelps and Sonny Gray will be the pitching matchup for Friday’s opener.