Yankees: 4 ways Aaron Boone can vary bullpen usage in postseason

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Chad Green #57 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Chad Green #57 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

2. It’s OK to send in Chad Green as the closer when needed

If the back end of the bullpen is overworked, Chad Green can close.

At the beginning of the 2020 season, Chad Green was by far the Yankees’ best reliever, getting even more action than usual in more meaningful spots with Aroldis Chapman on the COVID-19 IL and Tommy Kahnle having to undergo Tommy John surgery by the end of the year’s first series.

And man, did he look good. He gave up just one run on two hits and four walks with 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings of work. But then … he didn’t pitch for 10 days, and we still don’t have an explanation as to why.

When did Boone bring him back in for his first appearance since Aug. 16? Why, it was Aug. 26 against the Atlanta Braves with the Yankees holding onto a one-run lead in the sixth inning (of a seven-inning game). After sitting down the first two batters, Green allowed a single and then Freddie Freeman took him deep. Yankees lose.

Then came his disastrous outing against the Mets where he gave up three solo bombs. Then came that shared disaster with Ottavino in Buffalo that almost derailed the entire season. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Green, but when he has a role and isn’t getting large chunks of off days for no reason, he can be one of the best relievers on the pitching staff.

Keep throwing him in high-leverage situations. Keep using him in the later innings. Prepare him to close a game or two, because Chapman and Britton won’t be able to do it every single night if we’re playing this many games back to back. Green can do it. He just has to be in the right place.

That’s on Boone to manage him correctly between now and the ALDS, if they can get there.