One of the Yankees’ strengths this year has been their outstanding bullpen, posting a solid 3.74 ERA and leading the majors with 199 strikeouts going into play Friday. But it has been the emergence of former top prospect Dellin Betances, and his devastating slurve that has made the back end of the Yankees’ bullpen a powerhouse. Betances and his blistering fastball have logged 30 2/3 innings and he owns a ERA of 1.47. His 51 strikeouts are tops among major league relievers.
Another go-to0guy has been Adam Warren, who has compiled a 1.76 ERA and also has pitched 30 2/3 innings. Betances and Warren both 26-years-old, used to be starting pitchers which has helped them because they are accustomed to pitching more innings then your normal everyday relievers.
Lately though, manager Joe Girardi has been doing his best to balance and limit the workload for his big horses. When the Cardinals started to cut into the 7-0 lead the Yankees held, Girardi made a call to the bullpen for Betances. As Betances took the mound to face Matt Holliday, we all expected him to pitch his usual inning or two. But after getting Holliday to lineout, he was removed after facing just one batter.
In an attempt to prevent overuse, Girardi has juggled pieces and taken risks with unproven players. On Monday, without Warren or Betances, Girardi inserted Preston Claiborne in an eighth inning, bases loaded jam. Claiborn was effective, posting three straight outs, but also surrendered 2 runs in the process.
On Wednesday, with Betances’ availability being limited again, Girardi called on David Robertson to get a four-out save for the fourth time in 2 weeks. “Its more out of need” said Girardi to Jorge Castillo of the Star Ledger. Joe hopes the off-day Thursday has replenished his bullpen and that the return of Shawn Kelley can take some of the pressure off of Betances.