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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

Yankees win back & forth thriller thanks to clutch hits from Ackley, Hicks, Gardner, McCann

The Bronx Bombers opened up their four game series against the Kansas City Royals with a bang, as the team lived up to their nickname, slugging five solo homers to give them the 6-3 win. Behind Ivan Nova, making his first start of the season, the Yankees began the series on a good note. In game two, Yankee ace Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.29 ERA), took the mound as he looked to continue his stellar start to the season. Tanaka squared off against Kansas City right hander Kris Medlen (1-3, 6.85 ERA), who has had a rough start to his season. Rookie Ben Gamel made his first career start, batting ninth and playing right field.
Picture Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
Tuesday, May 10, 2016: Kansas City Royals @ New York Yankees
Winning Pitcher: Andrew Miller (2-0, 0.71 ERA) - 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Losing Pitcher: Kelvin Herrera (0-1, 1.17 ERA) - 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Save: Aroldis Chapman (1)

1st Inning:
Besides an Alcides Escobar single, Tanaka had a smooth first inning. Starlin Castro, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran loaded the bases with consecutive singles. Dustin Ackley brought in Starlin Castro with a sacrifice fly. (Yankees 1-0)

2nd Inning:
After Alex Gordon led off with a double, Chestor Cuthbert socked a homer that gave the Royals the lead. Didi Gregorius slapped a double to right field and scored after Chase Headley singled to right. (Tied 2-2)

3rd Inning:
Lorenzo Cain hit a solo shot to regain the lead for Kansas City. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs after a Carlos Beltran double, and walks to Dustin Ackley and Aaron Hicks. Didi Gregorius cleared the bases with a double. (Yankees 5-3)
Picture Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
4th Inning:
Masahiro Tanaka rebounded nicely, setting down the Royals in order. The Yankees also went quietly. (Yankees 5-3)

5th Inning:
Lorenzo Cain hit his second homerun of the game, this time a 3-run shot. The Yankees couldn’t get anything going offensively. (Royals 6-5)
Picture Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
6th Inning:
Tanaka set down the Royals 1-2-3. Luke Hochevar entered for the Royals and struck out the side.

7th Inning:
The Royals were put down in order. Dustin Ackley had a clutch single that scored Brian McCann from second. Aaron Hicks laced a double down the left field line that scored Dustin Ackley from second. (Yankees 7-6)
Picture Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
8th Inning:
Lorenzo Cain hit his third homerun of the game, this time off Andrew Miller, who was making his first appearance in his new 8th inning role. Ben Gamel reached on a fielding error by Alcides Escobar. Brett Gardner roped a double to the left-center gap that scored Gamel all the way from first. Brian McCann just nearly missed a home run and doubled to center, scoring Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro. (Yankees 10-7)

9th Inning
Aroldis Chapman entered in the 9th allowing just one baserunner on a walk issued to Alcides Escobar. He would get Cain to pop out to end the game.

Next Game: Wednesday, May 11: Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Yankees (Michael Pineda)

Article by: Phil Akre (@philakre)
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