Anthony McCarron, of the News, has all the important numbers on the Yankees today:
The Yankees, who are now only three games behind both the first-place Rays and the second-place-by-percentage-points Red Sox (56-45), seemingly have cemented their contender status with their postbreak play. Nine games out as recently as July 6, they have won 11 of 14 and are a season-high 11 games over .500.
Their second-half ERA of 1.89 is the lowest in baseball, and they have also allowed only 12 walks – the fewest in the majors – in 57 postbreak innings and haven’t given up a home run over that span. Opposing hitters have managed only a .569 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) over the last six games, tied with Milwaukee for lowest in baseball. Their strikeouts per nine innings – 9.63 – is tops, too.
Yankee starters have held opponents to three earned runs or less in 13 of their last 14 games, going 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA.
Even the bullpen, once considered a liability beyond Mariano Rivera, is thriving. The relievers have a 3.39 ERA overall, sixth-best, and are holding opponents to a .227 average, second lowest in baseball.
Hindered in the first half by failure with runners in scoring position, the Yankees are averaging 6.3 runs per game, up nearly two from the 4.59 they averaged in the first half. They have also been more clutch – batting .333 with RISP following the break; they hit .254 in such situations before the break.
And, that’s what winning is all about – your pitchers not allowing walks and homers while your hitters provide the big hits with runners on base. Pretty simple, huh?