3 reasons Yankees’ bullpen might doom them in postseason

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The New York Yankees’ thrilling 9-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night was some of the most fun fans have had in quite some time. But did the game need to be that dramatic? Some might say the Yankees’ comeback was solely a result of ineptitude elsewhere.

That would be the bullpen! The Yankees scored four runs and got five innings of one-run ball from Nestor Cortes against a should-be 100-loss team. That, in theory, should’ve been enough to make it a sweat-free night.

But even the Yankees’ best relief arms couldn’t hold strong versus one of most underwhelming lineups in MLB. Ron Marinaccio, Lou Trivino, Jonathan Loaisiga and Clay Holmes (again!) all allowed at least one earned run. On top of the rotation regressing, which was expected, the bullpen has faceplanted (kind of unexpected, if we’re being honest).

In the first half, the Yankees’ group of relievers went 28-16 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 327 strikeouts in 315 innings. In the second half, that’s all dipped to 13-12 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 191 strikeouts in 197 innings. Granted, that’s a difference of 118 innings, but the bullpen has also hit 13 batters (vs 18), hurled nine wild pitches (vs 13) and registered a 2.33 SO/W ratio (vs a 2.73 mark) over that span. There are trends easily spotted here.

It’s a combination of a lot of things. Regression. Lack of trust. Overall disarray. Injuries. Managerial decisions. Front office decisions. We can play the blame game all day, but the fact of the matter is that this all needs to be figured out in the next two weeks or else …

The Yankees bullpen could doom them in October for many reasons

New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (86) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

3. There Are No Roles!

It’s a game of who’s who. And we’ll get to the biggest problem of them all a little later on. But can you, as a fan who watches religiously, identify which pitcher has which role and who is trusted to complete a certain task?

For the entire year, it’s been unclear what Wandy Peralta’s purpose has been. He’s entered games from the third inning on with no discernible goal in mind — or at least that’s what it’s felt like. Clarke Schmidt is used in high-leverage situations … and then meaningless garbage time. Lou Trivino is kind of the new fireman after the trade deadline, we think? Greg Weissert’s been all over the place.

Obviously, this has to do with Michael King and Chad Green being out for the year, Scott Effross and Miguel Castro on the IL, and instability in the back end as a whole. Despite the obvious problems, perhaps it would’ve done the Yankees good to at least get two of the aforementioned pitchers entrenched in some line of duty.