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Series Recap: Yanks Steal Two, Plus Three-up, Three-down

Travis Rand@@TMoney108Correspondent IApril 8, 2010

BOSTON - APRIL 06:  Jorge Posada #20, Derek Jeter #2, Nick Swisher #33 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on April 6, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Yankee defeated the Red Sox 6-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Hey, would you look at that!

The Yankees bullpen decided to get their act together for the final two frames in what would turn out to be an exciting—and very long—three-game series with the AL East rival Red Sox.

I will be doing series recaps after all of the Yankees' series this year, and also highlight who performed well in the set, and who struggled a little bit more than expected.

The Yankees travel to Florida today to prepare for a three-game series with the Rays and look to separate themselves early and take charge of what appears to be the strongest division in the majors.

If the pitching staff can match their output in Fenway, and possibly increase production a tad, the series should swing in the Yankees' favor.

Three Up: Keep on Doing What You're Doing

Robinson Cano: 5-for-12, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 2B

Cano was one of the players I was really high on going into the season, and I knew he would continue the tremendous hitting and plate patience he showed last season.

He didn't get all his knocks in one game either, snagging two hits in the first two games, and his fifth in last night's extra-innings affair.

Given his place in the lineup, Cano should be able to keep seeing good pitches, as long as Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez (more on them later) keep getting on base. The RBI numbers will continue to climb, and if he hits the century mark before the end of the season, I will have a few "I-told-you-so's" to hand out.

Brett Gardner: 3-for-9, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SBs

Gardner was one of the final question marks coming into the season, and his last four spring games were hit-less ones for the young left fielder. He clearly stepped his game up when it truly counted, scoring both his runs in crucial times.

Last night, Derek Jeter was able to stay at the plate for what seemed like seven or eight minutes because of how much attention Gardner was attracting from Papelbon at first base. Gardner ended up swiping second, and with Papelbon's concentration broken, Jeter was walked shortly after.

If he continues to swing the lumber well, Marcus Thames will spend more time as a pinch hitter rather than a starter. But for now, expect him in when a southpaw takes the mound.

Bronx Brigade (The Bullpen...Trust Me, I'm Making this Nickname Stick): 10.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB

After the first game, which saw newcomer Chan Ho Park get handed a Beantown beatdown to the tune of Dustin Pedroia's homer over the Green Monster, the pen really got their act together and shut down the Sox for the two remaining games.

I was adamant in stating that when Joba went to the bullpen, paired with Aceves and Mariano, the Pinstripes could have one of the best in the majors. If Park can pitch like last night, going three full innings and allowing only one hit, he could become another key member in an already talented relief staff.

Three Down: Please, I Know It's Only Three Games, but Give Me Something...Anything

Mark Teixeira: 0-for-12, 2 RBI

Wowzer. I know I shouldn't be surprised here, due to Tex's lack of hitting when it comes to April games, but I was hoping he would at least match Papi hit-for-hit.

And still, he wasn't far off from that.

Unlike some of the other columnists, I actually believe Tex WILL start hitting before the calendar flips.

Last year he was without A-Rod, and I think that had a lot to do with the stuff that he was seeing from opposing pitchers. Teixeira still did work however, hitting two sacrifice flies, and walking three times in the series.

Alex Rodriguez: 2-for-15, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 2 2Bs

Now, about Teixeira seeing bad pitches...

If A-Rod can start to get the ol' Louisville on some leather, it will only help both of them out. A-Rod came within a few feet of a home run in the second game, and was benefited by both of his hits going for extra bases.

I think Rodriguez will turn it around quickly for two reasons: He is a historically great hitter in the first month, hitting .321 over the last three seasons, and he also loves playing Tampa Bay, where he hits a full 50 points higher than his career average.

Look for a bounce-back series starting tomorrow.

CC Sabathia: 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 4 SO's, 2 BB's

Honestly, I don't want to spend a lot of time with this one, because frankly, if I start giving up on Sabathia, or even question his arm strength after one game, what CAN I hope for?

He got rocked around a little bit for one bad inning, and unfortunately he picked some bad spots to lose control and give up some walks. His ERA is a tick above 4.00 when he plays Tampa, but I'm not too worried about him getting the mound for Saturday.

I'm not worried and you shouldn't be either.

Next Series Preview: @ Tampa Bay for a Trio

Vazquez and then top of the rotation will square off against a hot Tampa Bay offense that had the best record in the Grapefruit League in Spring Training, and is currently 2-0 with a game against Baltimore later tonight.

David Price and Wade Davis, two young stars, will be taking the mound for the first two games, and will compete with Vazquez and Sabathia, all looking for their first victories.

The series will most definitely be an interesting one, and hopefully the Yankees will fare in Tampa as well as they did in Boston.

The Angels come to town the following week, and the champs finally get their rings. Tune in, Yankee fans.

Pride. Power. Pinstripes

Travis Rand is a former Community Leader for the New York Giants until school ate up his free time like Octomom and fertility pills. His archive can be found here . He is a strong believer in Matt Thornton, the Denver Nuggets playoff run, and his new home page .

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