Sweep out of the chute for Yankees wipes out first half failures

By Rich Mancuso

Three games out of the all-star break and it was the New York Yankees doing what they were expected to do in the first half. They took a series and three straight games from the Cincinnati Reds and everything that was expected in the first half came to fruition in the Bronx. The sweep is nice, but the Yankees finally got production from their investments of the off-season.

Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, two of many who helped make the Yankees first half a failure, besides dealing with a decimated pitching staff that went down with injuries, that is in the past. The second half was a time to move on. What manager Joe Girardi saw was situational hitting and also production from the bottom of his order.

That led to winning baseball again in the Bronx.

Sunday afternoon Girardi, used the same lineup that opened the second half Friday evening and it worked. Beltran and McCann came out of the shoot and there was situational hitting. Same thing worked Saturday, but a gift run and fielding miscue by the Reds gave the Yankees the walk-off win Sunday.

If the Yankees want to succeed in a mediocre AL east division, they need that production from McCann and Beltran.  They also need the patched up starting pitching to do the job. David Phelps and Brandon McCarthy did their part in the first two games of the series.

Then there is Hiroki Kuroda, the veteran now of a Yankees pitching staff and one of the five who managed to stay healthy.  Sunday, Kuroda gave up three hits and no earned runs in 6-2/3 innings, and if the Yankees are going to be a part of a September stretch that will play into October, they need a healthy Kuroda.

“He was outstanding,” Girardi said of Kuroda. “It just tells you about how well he prepares himself.”

Jacoby Ellsbury, the other major free agent acquisition was consistent in the first half. The Yankees need him to continue hitting the ball with authority and he also did his part Sunday with a career tying four-hits and a walk.  Now, the Yankees need McCann and Beltran to be just as effective.

“It’s nice to get that sweep, and hopefully we can continue that momentum in our next series,” McCann said. The next ten of 13 games for the Yankees are against last place teams so this may be the time to make a move.  The last place Texas Rangers visit the Bronx the next four and this three-game sweep can only add to the momentum

 The Yankees are aware that this may be the time to take control of the division, and with seven of those games against Texas, and trailing first place Baltimore by three-and-a half games, who said the division is not available for their taking?

Momentum is so much a part of baseball and the Yankees have that feel right now.

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