Yankees’ likely pitching plan for Friday vs Rays already feels like a disaster

DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - APRIL 12: Manager Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees looks to Reggie Willits #75 during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark on April 12, 2021 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - APRIL 12: Manager Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees looks to Reggie Willits #75 during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark on April 12, 2021 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees have yet to get a grasp on the 2021 season. Fortunately, this won’t last forever, but the slow and discouraging start has put the team in a bit of a hole.

For one, the starting rotation’s inability to pitch even halfway through games has put a massive strain on the bullpen, which, luckily, has been lights out for the most part.

The only problem? The Yankees’ relievers can only be dominant for so long, especially if they’re being overused right out of the gate.

It’ll be even more challenging in 2021 because this 162-game slate follows last year’s 60-game run, and that has put just about every pitcher in the league at a distinct disadvantage.

Now, the Yankees are already resorting for a spot starter in Game 13.

We don’t know who it’ll be, but we can likely bet on the fact that whoever takes the mound probably won’t be giving the rotation any more length than it’s already gotten. So how is this supposed to help the bullpen?

Here’s the latest from the New York Daily News:

"“Michael King would be a strong candidate for a spot start, but Deivi Garcia, who was also being considered, made a start Wednesday in a game at the Alternate Site and probably would not be ready. Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa have been contributing to the Yankees’ already overworked bullpen. The Yankees optioned right-hander Albert Abreu, called up last week to give the bullpen a fresh arm, to the training site after Wednesday’s game.”"

Hardly any options. Though King put forth that admirable six-inning relief performance last week, that can’t be counted on again given his overall track record in the bigs. And if Garcia, the Yankees’ best shot to provide length, isn’t ready to start Friday, then what’re we doing here?

From the jump, the Yankees’ best asset is already well on its way to being taxed, and there’s no clear remedy. What does a spot starter do here other than provide a bit of a reprieve for the starting rotation? Spot starts are short in nature, meaning bullpen arms will have to be used.

And aside from King or Garcia, the next option is a bullpen game — the very point of which is designed to overuse that aspect of the roster. And to implement this against the Rays, who have used the Bombers as their personal punching bag over the last couple of years, just feels like a disaster waiting to happen.

We’ll be hoping for the best, but we’re just not sure we can bank on a positive result based on the circumstances.