Yankees: NYY can’t keep relying on bullpen to bail out rotation
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees can’t rely on their bullpen to pick up the pieces. It bit them tonight.
Jordan Montgomery became the latest Yankees starter to join a subpar club on Thursday. The type of social gathering crew that you don’t want your rotation signing up as members of.
Monty, coming off an excellent start against Boston, allowed five earned runs in just four innings, failing to eat much of anything at all the day after a doubleheader.
The Yankees could’ve used the luxury of length, heading into Tampa for four more games in fewer days. Instead, they were once again left high and dry, this time by the man we’d prematurely decreed to be the team’s second-best starter.
And here’s the kicker: You’re not going to believe this, but the Yanks bullpen was nails, and the team fought back, and nearly won.
Once again, it was David Hale overextending himself, throwing up zeroes. It was Jonathan Holder, holding the line, against the odds.
And once again, it was the New York Yankees offense, even without Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, and a healthy Gleyber Torres (editorializing here), clawing back from a hole that can’t exist in more important games.
The Yankees are 9-3. That makes sense. It’s a very good team. But now Montgomery qualifies among the starters who haven’t given the Yanks any type of length thus far, joining a damaged James Paxton, a recovering Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ, his bags already packed for the Scranton Shuttle.
This doesn’t qualify as a house of cards, necessarily. The roster is strong, and they’re built for success.
But in a three-game postseason series, where the bullpen will be a focal point by default, they can’t be pressed into action prematurely, especially not after participating in a larger-than-necessary chunk of regular season contests.
It’s a sprint, not a marathon. But too often in the early going, it’s been repeated individual sprints for the bullpen, and a series of tired laps for the rotation. Enough is enough.