Today’s win felt pretty routine, which is kind of amazing given the players who were not involved. Alex Rodriguez is still on the disabled list, Nick Swisher is dealing with a sore knee, Derek Jeter had the day off and the Yankees starting pitcher didn’t pitch out of the fifth inning.
All should be cause for concern, but the Yankees are used to filling holes, and they’ve come to trust the bullpen completely.
“There’s a lot of talent on this club,” Joe Girardi said. “Guys are stepping up and playing well. Our team is deep and guys are finding a way just to get it done.”
Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson filled in at the top of the order, and they combined for four runs and four RBI. Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez filled the spots at the bottom of the order, and they each had two hits. Mark Teixeira, the guy who was so awful through the first two months, collected his 99th RBI.
After Ivan Nova was lifted with two outs in the fifth, Boone Logan, Dave Robertson, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera got the Yankees through the final 4.1 without allowing a hit. Logan has been up and down from Triple-A, Robertson struggled earlier this season and Wood was with Cleveland six weeks ago.
“Mo was Mo,” Girardi said.
But all of it felt routine, just another day in a seven-game winning streak when the Yankees have learned to depend on different people on different days.
“We were in a little funk a few weeks ago,” Gardner said. “The last week or so, we’ve been hitting the ball pretty well and scoring some runs. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
• Girardi said the decision to lift Nova had nothing to do with the weather – it seemed he might have been expecting a rain-shortened game and wanted to make sure they were leading after five – and instead had everything to do with the situation. “Sometimes a game can hinge a little bit earlier than the seventh, eighth or ninth inning,” Girardi said. “I just felt it was time to go to Booney there… Whether it’s a veteran (starter) or not, I still might make the move.”
• Nova seemed disappointed in himself more than Girardi. Obviously he wanted to stay in long enough for the win, but his stuff wasn’t as sharp today and he knew it. He said he had trouble working inside.
• After a two-homer game yesterday, Granderson had two RBI doubles today. He must be feeling pretty good at the plate, right? “Not at all,” Granderson said. “That’s the thing. Part of hitting is being lucky at times and being able to put the ball in play and see what’s going to happen. That’s what’s been happening for the last couple of games now.”
• Speed at the top of the lineup really helped the Yankees today, especially Gardner who tripled in a run and scored from first on a fairly routine double. “To score from first base on the ball that I hit down the line,” Granderson said. “There’s not too many people in the game that could do it, and he did it with a pretty good-throwing right fielder out there.”
• Alex Rodriguez should be back in two days, but the Yankees have gotten solid contributions from Nunez and Pena while he’s been out. “They’ve really come up with some big hits, and some two-out RBIs too,” Gardner said.
• Wood has made a huge difference in the bullpen. Girardi said he didn’t want to use Joba Chamberlain today, but he still had two legitimate setup men to turn to in Wood and Robertson. “It allows you to use two of the three every day, usually,” Girardi said.
• Girardi remains optimistic that Rodriguez will be ready on Sunday, despite Rodriguez’s more cautious optimism. “The last time in a live situation, ran out of the box and he felt it,” Girardi said. “I understand him being cautious, but I feel pretty good about how the rehab went. We’ll find out a lot more tomorrow.”
• Wood has allowed one run in 15 innings and got his second win with the Yankees. He has a 0.60 ERA since coming to New York.
• Gardner has now walked in eight consecutive games in which he’s had a plate appearance. According to Elias, that’s the longest streak by a Yankee since Johnny Damon in 2007.
• Pena has a hit in nine of his past 12 starts, batting .282 with six RBI in those games. He’s started against Toronto three times this season and has multiple hits every time.
Associated Press photos of Rivera with Posada, Nova and Granderson