There are several benefits of winning by at least five runs, and very rarely do the New York Yankees experience the main advantage of not taxing a bullpen.
The Yankees enjoyed a rare blowout victory Friday, and they hope to experience another stress-free result Saturday afternoon when they host the Cleveland Indians in the middle game of a three-game series.
The Yankees (83-65) are a half-game up on the Toronto Blue Jays for the second American League wild card after opening the series with an 8-0 victory.
New York is 52-32 in games decided by two runs or fewer with an array of difficult losses due to its inability to pull away, as exemplified by a 3-2, 10-inning loss in Baltimore on Thursday when the Yankees were one strike away from a win.
On Friday, Joey Gallo homered twice, giving him six in his past eight games. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton also hit solo homers while Brett Gardner hit a three-run shot in New York’s most lopsided win since a 10-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 20.
“I think it was good for the spirit,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
By winning big Friday, the Yankees did not have to use their bullpen extensively. After employing four relievers Thursday, the Yankees used two after getting six effective innings from Corey Kluber.
“We’ve been playing really, really close games as of late,” Gallo said, “so it’s nice to kind of let our pitchers go out there and not have to worry about giving up a run.
“Obviously it’s a more loose environment as an offense that can do that, so we have to do that more. It’s good to see that we did that tonight and hopefully we can do that moving forward.”
Cleveland (71-74) is hoping to bounce back after its 10th loss in 14 games. The Indians mustered four hits, allowed five homers and the Yankees turned three double plays against them.
“Long ball got us tonight,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. “We got to keep these guys in the park for sure.”
Cleveland also is looking to bounce back from getting blanked for the 12th time this year. The Indians enter Saturday having been held to three runs or fewer in nine of their past 11 games.
New York rookie Luis Gil (1-0, 2.88 ERA) will make his sixth career start after allowing eight runs in his past two outings. He will face Cleveland for the first time.
Gil last pitched in Monday’s makeup game against the Minnesota Twins, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. Gil allowed four runs in the first inning but allowed one run the rest of the way, allowing New York to eventually rally for a 6-5, 10-inning win.
Aaron Civale (10-4, 3.76 ERA) will make his third start since missing six weeks with a sprained middle finger on his right hand. Civale last pitched Sunday in an 11-1 loss to the visiting Milwaukee Brewers when he allowed seven runs and seven hits, including three homers in three innings.
Civale is 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in two starts since coming back. Before the injury, he was 10-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 15 starts.
The 26-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media