With a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, the New York Yankees clinched a Wild Card berth in the postseason and their first appearance in October since 2012. In the first season of the post-Derek Jeter era, the Yankees relied on veterans offensively and a strong bullpen in compiling an 87-75 record in 2015. Let's look at some of the keys to the Bronx Bombers' success this season:
The resurgence of Alex Rodriguez
After a season-long suspension in 2014, Alex Rodriguez returned in 2015 and had his best offensive season since 2009. The 39-year-old hit .250/.356/.486 with a team-high 33 home runs and a wRC+ of 129 that only trailed first baseman Mark Teixeira among Yankees that played at least 100 games. In addition to the strong numbers at the plate, the 151 games Rodriguez played were the most since he played 158 games in 2007.
Andrew Miller leads a dominant bullpen
In the offseason, Yankees general manager signed veteran reliever Andrew Miller to a four-year, $36 million contract to bolster New York's bullpen. Miller was installed as closer, making 53 appearances this season, he had a 2.04 ERA an 0.86 WHIP and earned 36 saves and striking out 100 hitters in 61⅔ innings. Even more dominant was setup man Dellin Betances, who had a 1.50 ERA in 74 appearances, striking out 131 in 84 innings of work. Right-hander Adam Warren and lefties Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve also had strong seasons out of the bullpen for New York.
Didi Gregorius takes over at shortstop
In an effort to replace the retiring Jeter at shortstop, the Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius from Arizona in a three-team trade in the offseason that cost them pitcher Shane Greene, who went to Detroit. Gregorius performed well in Jeter's place, hitting .265/.318/.370 with 35 extra-base hits and solid defense, leading Yankees position players with 3.1 fWAR.