The Angels arrived at Yankee Stadium on Monday to make up a game that was originally scheduled to follow the biggest collapse of the season by the Yankees bullpen.
The Yankees have largely surged since then — entering the day with a 24-13 record since Aroldis Chapman’s June 30 meltdown was capped off by Jared Walsh’s game-tying grand slam in an 11-8 loss — but manager Aaron Boone is still performing a high-wire act when navigating the late innings with a lead.
It worked out well on Monday, though, when the bullpen threw 3 ¹/₃ scoreless innings to finish off a 2-1 win over the Angels.
“I definitely think this can be a springboard for us going forward,” said Chad Green, who gave up the only hit by a reliever while recording the save in the ninth inning. “A lot of guys stepped up and threw some big innings tonight. … Hopefully something we can lean on moving forward.
“It’s no secret that we’ve struggled at times to close games out, to have clean innings, to get outs in big situations. But hopefully tonight’s that step in the right direction we need.”
Zack Britton struck out the only batter he faced in the sixth inning, relieving Gerrit Cole and stranding a runner on first. Albert Abreu, who was needed to record a save Saturday in Chicago, then retired five straight batters before lefty Joely Rodriguez entered to strike out Shohei Ohtani to end the eighth.
It was an especially encouraging outing for Britton, who had given up at least one run in three of his previous four outings.
“The important thing is he’s great at this,” Boone said. “This is a guy that’s been elite for a long time. Making sure he continues to understand that as he works through this. … I do believe it’s something that, as he continues to get out there, it’s going to click for him. He should be able to take off from there.”
The Yankees had six blown saves on their recent six-game road trip, including four in one game against the Royals. The struggles have intensified while Aroldis Chapman has been out with elbow inflammation, though the hard-throwing lefty threw a bullpen session Monday and could return by midweek.
Monday marked the Yankees’ 66th game this season decided by two runs or fewer, with the Bombers improving to an MLB-best 43-23. But it has made for a heavy workload for their most important arms.
“A lot of people have had some heavy workloads and it’s been a grind of a season,” Boone said. “Obviously in some cases, especially lately, we’ve had to lean on the bullpen a lot.It’s created opportunities for some guys to come in, in some big situations, and guys have picked each other up and performed.”
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