Yankees reveal pitching moves vs Rays and they almost make sense

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Nick Nelson #79 of the New York Yankees in action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 01, 2021 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 3-2 in ten innings. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Nick Nelson #79 of the New York Yankees in action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 01, 2021 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 3-2 in ten innings. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Remember when the Yankees brass raved about their newfound rotation depth this spring? When was that, a month ago?

Well, two weeks into a 5-7 start to the regular season and they’ve already chosen to mash things up and utilize an opener and piggyback arm. Wonderful.

In the team’s latest attempt to out-Rays the Rays (remember how well that went in ALDS Game 2?), the Bombers are welcoming Tampa to the Bronx by asking two pitchers to handle the bulk of Friday’s game.

Domingo German, still at the Alternate Site, will not be a part of the proceedings this time around.

The Yankees will call up Michael King, as many of us suspected.

Nick Nelson, however, will be starting this game…for how long? No one knows. Intrigue!

The Yankees are starting a Nick Nelson/Michael King piggyback against the Rays.

Remember when Yankee Stadium chanted, “Play real baseball!” during the implementation of the extra-innings rule a few weeks back? Seems like the front office didn’t listen here.

OK, so the end of this tale is Nelson gets an “extended” look against the only team to square him up this season, and King gets a chance in an unfamiliar, improvised role instead of as a starter? Great. Almost correct.

Got to have low hopes to succeed in this town.

Of course, the last time the Yankees messed around against the Rays in this fashion, JA Happ was vehemently opposed to the way he was used, and didn’t hide his displeasure with the decision. Clearly, that contributed at least somewhat to his ineffectiveness. This time, King is happy to be back, and likely won’t be voicing any displeasure…but will it subconsciously leak into his performance anyway?

This current Yankees ownership ground would apparently like nothing more than to succeed the way the Rays do, by innovating within the boundaries of the rules and searching for hidden cost-cutting gems. A true contender, though, balances subtle genius with big-fish spending far more often than the Yankees do — Exhibit A, your World Champion Dodgers!

When this strategy works for the Bombers, we’ll applaud it. But Chad Green’s only a viable opener until it’s Game 6 in Houston and everything’s on the line.