Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anatomy of a Winning Homestand

Despite their loss today, the Yankees went 8-2 on their ten game homestand.

I guarantee that if you ask any single person in a Yankees' uniform they will tell you that, yes, it would have been nice to sweep the homestand, but going 8-2 over ten games is not a shoddy deal.

Here's why the Yankees went 8-2.

1) They beat the team they were supposed to beat, no excuses, sweeping Baltimore in the middle three games of the series.

2) They never said die, even in games it didn't look like they'd win. They had four walk-off wins; nearly five, and in some of the walk-offs never lead until their final at bat. The starting pitching kept the team in the game; the bullpen did a remarkably good job, despite often playing short, and the offense came up clutch when it mattered.

3) The homestand wasn't the responsibility of one single player. Nearly everyone pulled their weight at some point. There will always be someone slumping; what matters is whether or not the rest of the team can pick that someone up. This week, the Yankees did.

4) Starting pitching, starting pitching, starting pitching.

Only AJ Burnett struggled on Friday. Nearly every other game, every starter kept the team in the game, even if they had to grit through it (and when the starter couldn't, ie, Joba's injury, the bullpen did).

5) Clutch hitting.

Four walk off wins, and nearly five, says a heck of a lot. None of the walk offs came against the weak Orioles; they came against the relatively competitive Twins and the world champion Phillies.

So, there you have it.

Yes, the Yankees dropped the series to the Phillies, but they came *that close* to not. If Teixeira doesn't ground into that double play, the Yankees probably win that game.

There was one loss--that on Friday--in which the Yankees never had much of a shot at winning the game. One, out of ten games.

The team is playing with the type of energy and fight that, face it, we haven't had since 2003.

Yes, the Yankees are still be in third place.

If they keep playing like this, they won't be for long.