Yankees: Clay Holmes’ seventh inning proves they unlocked him


With all due respect to Hoy Park, the New York Yankees appear to have acquired a game-changing reliever at the deadline by maximizing the turbo sinker of former Pirate Clay Holmes.

Will he always be perfect? Will he always snag the corners flawlessly with his in-motion fastball? Of course not. Sometimes, relievers don’t work out.

But Holmes’ seventh inning on Saturday, when the Yankees were in dire straits, proved exactly why he was acquired.

With stuff like this, it’s quite possible the pros will massively outweigh the cons.

The Yankees entered Saturday’s game without relief, thanks to Friday’s bullpen game that lasted through extra innings and used absolutely everyone. To make matters worse, fifth starter Andrew Heaney was set to take the mound, and Aroldis Chapman — supposed to be the last resort in this one — hit the IL with elbow problems just prior to game time.

No problem. Heaney, who nibbled in the first two innings, settled into a groove that lasted through six. When it came time for the seventh, the only relievers available were Holmes, Joely Rodriguez, and Jonathan Loaisiga in a back-to-back.

Not an issue. Good, actually. Just…stare in awe at what Holmes managed here, catching the entire Mariners squad looking at both the sinker and the curve.

Yankees reliever Clay Holmes has been a godsend for the bullpen.

We could get used to this — and, luckily, we’ll have a chance to. Holmes is under contract through 2024.

Therefore, if the Yankees figured out how to maximize his phenomenal sinker movement this quickly, they may have acquired a special middle-innings stalwart for the entirety of this championship window.

That said, good for Hoy Park. With the Pirates, he’s 7-for-18. That’s a .389 average. In a short sample size, we’re glad he’s gotten the opportunity to flit all over the diamond and smack liners, as we suspected he always could. Holmes, though, could be far more valuable to this team than any utility man, especially if he can harness the effortless stuff he flashed on Saturday in one of the most important bridge innings of the year.

After the truest of the true team wins on Friday, which the Yankees captured without a starting pitcher, New York nabbed another one on Saturday to officially clinch the four-game series against a direct Wild Card contender.

On Friday, they didn’t have a true starter. On Saturday, they didn’t have more than one member of their supposedly-trustworthy bullpen core. No problem. Clay Holmes won’t always be this, but it seems possible he’ll be this more often than not. Deadline. Steal.