OAKLAND TAKES WEEKEND SERIES AS INJURIES CONTINUE TO MOUNT FOR YANKEES
Added by Elizabeth DiPietro on May 6, 2013.
Phil Hughes recorded his first win of 2013 this weekend. (Getty Images)
Although the New York Yankees dropped this past weekend’s series to the Oakland A’and two more pitchers joined the list of injured players, it was peppered with bright spots along the way.
Phil Hughes notched his first victory of the season with eight innings of shutout ball on Saturday afternoon, and recent bullpen call-up Preston Claiborne hurled two perfect innings in relief of an ineffective Andy Pettitte on Sunday.
Hughes has suffered from a lack of run support over his last four starts. In each of those games, he has lasted at least six innings and given up two or less runs, but hadn’t cemented a win until Saturday. He bested former teammate Bartolo Colon, and for once Hughes, a notorious fly-ball pitcher, found himself on the right end of home run support. Chris Stewart and Lyle Overbay each had solo shots to help lift the Yankees and Hughes to a 4-2 win.
After two sloppy starts to begin the season, Hughes’ ERA has steadily decreased since then, and is now sitting pretty at 3.60.
Would anyone have believed that key players in the 2013 Yankees bullpen would be Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne, and Shawn Kelley? Apparently injuries, in addition to necessity, are the mother of invention. Joba Chamberlain is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique, and David Robertson is day-to-day with a sore knee and hamstring.
The motley crew of relievers have had mixed success. Nuno pitched three scoreless innings in a 9-1 throwaway to Houston on April 29. Claiborne, who was called up in Chamberlain’s stead, gave the Yankees a chance to win on Sunday with two pristine frames, although Oakland eventually edged them out 5-4.
Warren has pitched well (13 innings, 3 ER) but hasn’t factored in the outcome of a game thus far. In four out of his five appearances, he entered when the Yankees were already losing. His one appearance in a victory occurred in a 14-1 laugher over the Indians on April 9.
More groan-inducing has been Kelley. Manager Joe Girardi has recently short-leashed Kelley and his nearly-8 ERA, as evidenced by his single-batter appearance in Saturday’s game. Girardi quickly yanked Kelley after he surrendered a hit to the pesky Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera eventually closed out the game, but not without some nail-biting moments first.
Also disappointing in the Oakland series was Boone Logan. Logan essentially blew Sunday’s game by allowing a tie-breaking home run to Josh Donaldson in the top of the eighth, only an inning and a half after Overbay delivered a clutch two-out single with runners on second and third to tie up the game.
The Yankees have a travel day on Monday to recuperate as they prepare to face the Rockies in a rare series at Coors Field. Although the Yankees have historically fared well in interleague play, Colorado (18-13) will no doubt be a formidable opponent and the unfamiliar high altitude could prove unpredictable for New York.
They’ll send up Hiroki Kuroda in the opener Tuesday.