Yankees Win in Spite of Bullpen
Allow myself to introduce…myself.
Hey readers! And I do hope there are readers, and I’m not just talking to myself. Regardless, here goes:
There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jordan DeMarco. I live in New York City and I’m a lifelong, die hard, tried and true, true blue Yankees fan. Not much else is important, or interesting. This blog is going to be updated daily, sometimes more than once, so come back often. Please give me tons of feedback. Let me know how much I suck, and how much I don’t know about sports and baseball and the Yankees, and be sure to tell me how much more you know. I’m serious though, I don’t know everything and want this blog to be as close to a never ending sports conversation as possible.
Let’s kick things off with something I wrote this afternoon during the Yankees dramatic walk-off win:
Any Yankees fan with a driver’s license remembers the glory days of Nelson, Stanton and Rivera. If a starter went six innings the game was over. Write it down, lock it up, put it on the board over. It was like the middle relief version of Tinker to Evers to Chance. Veras to Albaladejo to Marte doesn’t have the same ring, although it does have a 7.15 ERA. Awesome.
This isn’t news, you say, so why am I wasting my time? Because as I’m writing this, the Yankees bullpen is doing its best to blow the game against the Twins. Phil Coke, a 26 year old rookie, had to come into the 7th and mop up Jose Veras’ second and third w/ one out mess. By the way, a 26 year old rookie is equivalent to a 26 year old who just graduated college: I dont want him working for my company, dating my daughter, or pitching for my team. Coke got out of the jam, which is great, but in the 8th he promptly gave up a home run to Justin Morneau (screw you for stealing Derek Jeter’s 2006 MVP and tying this game), walked Michael Cuddyer, and let the Brian Buscher rip an RBI double to right. Yes, that Brian Buscher.
Even if the Yanks win this game (HUGE two out RBI by Tex to tie it in the 8th), six dozen Bobbys from the Bronx are going to call Mike Francesa’s show on Monday demanding Girardi put Joba back in the bullpen. Joba gave up two runs over six innings today, but once again the bullpen couldn’t close it out. So what’s a manager to do?
Keep Joba in the rotation! Girardi really doesn’t have a choice, because Wang can’t keep his sinker down in the zone even in the minors, which means Hughes is going to be in the majors for a while. Of course, Wang will eventually be back. So what happens then? Do the Yanks put Joba in the pen and continue to start Hughes? What happens when Burnett and Pettitte make their inevitable trip to the disabled list? What if Wang continues to suck a fat one when he gets back?
Look, I would love a lock down eighth inning guy. But if you put Joba in the pen you have to keep him there. If a starter goes down, you can’t just plug Joba back into the rotation once he acclimates to middle relief. It took him a while to stretch out into a starter last year, and it would take him just as long this year. Besides, you don’t want to screw with a young guy’s arm anymore than you have to. So if he becomes a reliever, he stays a reliever. No whining when Pettitte goes on the DL and the Yanks have to call up Ian Kennedy or, god forbid, Kei Igawa. Trust me, it’s better to have Joba go 5.2 innings every five days than have some minor league scrub go 3.1. The fewer innings the bullpen pitches, the better.
Bottom line: if the bullpen doesn’t improve, the Yankess won’t make the playoffs. We saw it with the Mets over the last two seasons. I’m not worried about Rivera, I just watched him make Joe Mauer look silly in the 9th. Brian Bruney should be back relatively soon and will hopefully slide comfortably back into his set up role. Sabathia is back to his old self and should give the bullpen a respite every time he takes the mound, which the pen needs…badly. If Burnett can put together a consistent start, the rotation should be good enough to hide the bullpen’s flaws until the relievers can settle down and get healthy and rested.
I’m being overly optimistic, I know. I’m a Yankees fan. I’m used to winning, dammit.
Oh, A-Rod just hit a walk off. See? Everything is cool.