The Yankees are heating up. As the temperature begins to rise and summer quickly approaches, New York seems to be hitting their stride after two months of inconsistency. For now, they are perhaps the hottest team in the majors, as June has provided the team with the spark that fans have been waiting for.
The Bronx Bombers have won 14 of their last 18 games. On May 22, the start of this stretch, they were 22-21 and 5.5 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. Now, they share first place with Tampa Bay, and have a record of 35-25 – 10 games over .500 is their high water mark for the year.
What has spurred this team to victories hasn’t been their offense, as they’ve still continued to struggle with runners in scoring position – the stats are eye popping and analyzed every game. The recent success has been due in large part to the pitching. Over this 18 game stretch, Yankee pitchers have thrown to a 2.82 ERA. It seems to have been contagious. Some pitchers that haven’t performed well have all of a sudden found it. Since May 22, Ivan Nova has won all four of his starts, pitching into the seventh inning every time.
Phil Hughes has also pitched well. He’s had four starts, and has won three (one no decision). His last two in particular have been impressive, the first of which he went the distance against Detroit in his first career complete.
Hiroki Kuroda has won two of his three starts (one no decision) giving up two runs total along the way. Andy Pettitte’s success has been well documented, and CC Sabathia has been his normal self. He’ll pitch tonight against the Braves hoping to keep the line moving. Kuroda will follow him tomorrow matching up against Tim Hudson in the series finale.
The bullpen has been a huge strength all season for New York, considering all of the injuries. Rafael Soriano is 9 for 10 in save opportunities and has a 2.11 ERA. Boone Logan has proven he can get lefties and righties out – he has 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 21 innings pitched. Cory Wade has probably been one of the most consistent relievers in all of baseball. Last night he closed the game for Girardi with Soriano unavailable – Wade has a WHIP of .95.
If the Yankees continue to pitch like this and the situational hitting picks up, there’s no telling how good this team can be. But for now, they are the best in the AL, maybe even in all of baseball. Pitching has been the name of the game, and no one on the staff wants to be the one that breaks the trend.