It was jobs well done by ’pen
Relievers come into games for specific reasons.
One might enter the game because he’s the only lefthander in the bullpen. Another might set up the closer.
It’s easy for relievers to throw around cliché phrases such as “we just had to do our jobs,’’ and usually, it’s an oversimplification. But in the Yankees’ case last night, that would be the perfect way to describe it - and the bullpen’s work resulted in a 3-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The pen’s lone lefty, Boone Logan, came in with two outs and the bases loaded to face lefthanded slugger Adrian Gonzalez in the the fifth. He struck him out on three pitches. The specialist’s job was complete for that inning.
“I’ve done my part coming in to big situations throughout the year,’’ Logan said. “I’ve been a little shaky on lefties on the whole but as far as coming into situations like that, I’ve proven myself.’’
Logan needed a little help in the sixth after he allowed a double to Carl Crawford. In came Cory Wade, who got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop out to first. Job done.
Rafael Soriano pitched the seventh for the Yankees, striking out one in his third appearance since returning from the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. The Yankees viewed the former setup man’s outing positively.
“He always can help,’’ Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. “He was sore, and now he’s healthy. We have him back, and we’re going to enjoy.’’
Said manager Joe Girardi: “[Soriano] is used to pitching in big games. I just thought it was time.’’
David Robertson followed with a flawless eighth inning, and Rivera finished for his 29th save of the season with ease.
Each piece of the bullpen puzzle fit perfectly.
The potent Red Sox offense couldn’t get much going against the Yankees relievers, getting just two hits.
“Their bullpen really shut us down,’’ Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We had a chance or two but not a lot. Their bullpen really stopped us.’’
It’s not a new phenomenon, either.
Since July 15 at Toronto, the Yankees’ bullpen has allowed just two earned runs on the road. But in a game that featured teams tied atop the American League East, bullpen success seemed even more important.
“It’s awesome when the whole bullpen goes out there and puts up zeros - especially against Boston,’’ Logan said. “We all pitched our butts off.’’
Rivera called it a “tremendous ballgame.’’
“It’s not always like that, but our bullpen has been excellent,’’ Girardi said. “Our guys stepped up.
“We play our share of tight games, and you can’t use these guys every day.’’
They don’t need them every day, either. This afternoon, for example, CC Sabathia is pitching, and he usually goes deep into games. It might not be a big bullpen day.
Still, games like last night’s show the Yankees can rely on certain relievers in certain situations. And that they’ll fill their roles.
That’s all the Yankees want from their bullpen guys anyway - especially in a tight division race.
Nicole Auerbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.