5 Takeaways from New York Yankees' 1st Home Series vs. Baltimore Orioles

Matt Schneidman@@matt_schneidmanContributor IIIApril 10, 2014

5 Takeaways from New York Yankees' 1st Home Series vs. Baltimore Orioles

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    Kathy Willens

    It was an up-and-down series for the Yankees, as they took one out of three from the Baltimore Orioles.

    After an impressive performance from Hiroki Kuroda in game one, in which the Yankees won 4-2, Ivan Nova and Co. were blasted for 14 runs in game two.

    That was followed up with a blown game in the ninth inning from fill-in closer Shawn Kelley to give the Orioles the series win. Despite dropping two of three, there were still some positives for the Yankees, such as the bats of Alfonso Soriano and Yangervis Solarte.

    So without further ado, here are five takeaways from the Yankees' first home series of the season.

5. The Yankees Have Had Some Pretty Decent Players Over the Past Decade

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Although completely unrelated to the actual series, the "Core Four" is certainly worth noting.

    Personally, I was given goosebumps when four Yankees legends took the field to honor The Captain. But these Yankees weren't just tremendous players. They were great teammates and players who were adored by all Bronx Bomber fans.

    It'll only be some time before all four of these guys are playing on Old Timers' Day, so enjoy the cutter and Pettite's splitter in pre-game ceremonies while you can.

4. Alfonso Soriano Finally Woke Up

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    Bill Kostroun

    After going 1-for-19 in the first two series, Soriano's bat finally broke out against the Orioles.

    He went 5-for-11 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Although Soriano is still batting a miniscule .200, increased production out of him would make the Yankees' already-balanced lineup that much more potent.

    Even when the 38-year-old is thrust out of the DH spot and into left field when Jacoby Ellsbury needs a rest, he can still produce.

3. Yangervis Solarte Continues to Excel

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    Kathy Willens

    I've included Solarte in my last two takeaway articles, but he simply continues to impress.

    The third baseman recorded at least one hit in each game of the series, going 4-for-11 in total, with two doubles and two RBI. For those waiting for the first-year Yankee to hit a slump and get sent to the minors, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

    Joe Girardi has wisely placed Solarte at the bottom of the lineup to provide a nice precursor to the top of the order where Brett Gardner has been hitting well.

    The 26-year-old is now hitting .429 on the year, good for ninth in the MLB. That should speak for itself.

2. Masahiro Tanaka May Be 'All That'

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In two starts thus far, Tanaka certainly hasn't disappointed.

    Although the Yankees lost in his second start, he didn't factor in the decision. Tanaka threw seven solid innings of three-run, 10-strikeout ball, only walking one.

    Yes, it's extremely early in the season, but with the inconsistencies with the rest of the pitching staff, Tanaka could find his way up toward the top of the rotation in due time.

    And if you hadn't noticed, many of the Tanaka doubters have now sat back down again.

1. The Yankees Need to Sure Up Their Bullpen

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    Bill Kostroun

    The Yankees' pen started off the series nicely, throwing 2.2 innings of hitless ball to help Hiroki Kuroda get his first win of the year.

    But after that, it all went downhill.

    In the second game of the series, the relievers were called on early after Ivan Nova got shelled for seven runs in 3.2 innings. Cesar Cabral only faced three batters, but then Vidal Nuno came in, and the Orioles totaled seven runs over 3.1 innings.

    In yesterday's rubber match, the game was tied at three going into the ninth, but makeshift closer Kelley let up two runs on four hits in the frame, giving the Orioles the win.

    If the Yankees bullpen is going to be this shaky, say goodbye to a winning season.