A Little Power, A Little Pitching and a Yankee Sweep - NBC New York

A Little Power, A Little Pitching and a Yankee Sweep

Allowing seven runs in three games works out well



    A Little Power, A Little Pitching and a Yankee Sweep
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    Russell's muscle was just part of a winning plan.

    It's pretty natural to lead with the home runs.

    The Yankees hit eight of them this weekend against the Mets, capped by Russell Martin's walk-off home run on Sunday afternoon. Those homers give the Yankees 92 on the season, the most in all of baseball and an easy retort to those who have decided that the Yankees can't hit in clutch situations.

    Sunday's win lifts the Yankees to a 34-13 record in games in which they hit a home run and an 0-12 mark when they are kept in the ballpark. Remember last year when there was a school of thought that the Yankees somehow hit too many home runs?

    Having said that, it would be a pretty big error to say that home runs were the only reason why the Yankees swept the boys from Queens and extended their run of strong play to 13 wins in the last 17 games.

    The Yankees played mostly error-free over the three games this weekend, they got a little bit of luck with balls in play (see Alex Rodriguez's go-ahead flare on Sunday), Derek Jeter hustled his way into two hits to slow his slump and, most importantly, the Yankees pitched very well.

    If you scroll back up a little bit, you'll see that the Yankees hit eight home runs over the course of the weekend. If all eight of those were solo shots -- they weren't, but stay with us -- and the Yankees didn't score again, they would have had eight runs for the weekend.

    The Mets scored seven runs across the three games and that, even more than the home runs, is the reason why the Yankees swept this series. Hiroki Kuroda dazzled on Friday night, Phil Hughes kept the restoration in progress on Saturday night and Andy Pettitte pitched around a bad second inning to keep the Yankees close enough to come back for the win in the late innings.

    That's the way it has been going for the Yankees throughout this recent stretch. They've allowed 52 runs in their last 17 games, a number that's gotten ignored a little bit as the attention has focused on the Yankees hitting the ball again after an unpleasant sojourn into life in the 1910s.

    The combination of the two leaves the Yankees with a +40 run differential, the best in the AL East and reason to think that this hot streak might not be running out of steam for a little while yet.

    The Yankees still have their flaws, but their strengths are overwhelming those weaknesses just enough to get a win every day.

    Amazing what can happen when you pitch well, hit well and don't sabotage yourself, isn't it?

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.