The difference-maker in the Yankees' 3-2 win over the Red Sox Friday night was the New York bullpen. After starter Bartolo Colon lasted only 4 2/3 innings and left with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, five relievers combined to go the final 4 1/3 innings for the visitors, allowing only two hits while preventing any runs from crossing the plate. Red Sox hitters seemed frustrated at the dish as five batters struck out and no walks were drawn off the Yankee bullpen.
While future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera attracts the majority of the attention in the team's bullpen, set-up man David Robertson has been just as important for New York. The 26-year-old righty worked a perfect eighth inning against Boston on Friday, picking up his 23rd hold of the season. A former 17th-round selection of the Bombers in the 2006 MLB draft, Robertson is 3-0 this season with a 1.44 ERA in 43 2/3 innings pitched. Selected to his first All-Star game in July, Robertson has struck out 68 batters while only giving up 26 walks this year.
Boston boasts an impressive set-up man of its own in the form of Daniel Bard. Also at age 26, Bard has worked 51 1/3 innings this season for the Red Sox and has a 2.28 ERA. The 6-foot-4 righty has been particularly stingy in allowing baserunners, sporting a .877 WHIP, the seventh-best ratio in the big league among pitchers who have worked at least 40 innings. Bard is also second in baseball with 25 holds this season.