If you happened to be listening to the radio as the Yankees made their way into the eighth inning, you heard John Sterling take a brief break from self-promotion to note that Joe Girardi chose to stick with Chad Qualls in a game that the Angels led 6-5.
Sterling expressed surprise that Girardi wasn't opting to use David Robertson to keep the score manageable, a much more cogent observation than his usual inability to decipher a home run from a flyout to left field. Qualls allowed three runs in the inning and the Angels were able to hold off a Yankee rally in the ninth for a 10-8 victory.
It would be easy to criticize Girardi for not choosing to go with Robertson in that spot as it seemed like an obvious time to opt for the more effective bullpen choice, but it would be the wrong choice. This was a case of Girardi seeing the forest for the trees, something that hasn't always been his strong spot as Yankee manager.
The Yankees won the first two games against Anaheim and needed relievers to do some heavy lifting in each of those victories, so trying to squeeze your way through a Sunday matinee of a series you already won makes sense. Beyond that, the Yankees entered the day with an eight-game division lead and the benefit of that is that you don't have to exhaust all your resources to win every game.
Alex Rodriguez's pop out with the bases loaded in the ninth makes this feel like a game that could/should have wound up differently, but it doesn't change the fact that the weekend was a big win for the Yankees. If they win two of every three games for the rest of the season, they'll wind up with over 100 wins, and most likely take home the American League East.
Beyond that, there were still positive takeaways from Sunday's game. The Yankees hit well against Jered Weaver, something that hasn't happened much this year, and Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer off Ernesto Frieri, something that hasn't happened at all this year.
The Yankees showed resiliency in winning on Friday via an eighth inning comeback and they flashed obscene amounts of power all weekend long. The pitching wasn't great, especially in light of Ivan Nova's recent outings, but, again, worrying about winning two of three in the context of this Yankees season is like worrying about rain when you're stuck inside all day.
It's unfortunate, perhaps, but it doesn't make the big picture any less enjoyable.