You’re not going to believe this, but the New York Yankees made fans nervous by pulling a relief pitcher mid-game, reduced collective worry by calling the injury “nagging” and specifying that it wasn’t arm-related, then, after 48 hours of calm, yanked that pitcher out of the team’s first postseason series anyway!
Wow. Very odd! Very uncharacteristic. But, either way, Ron Marinaccio isn’t going to be a part of the Yankees’ ALDS bullpen, as he battles a stress reaction in his shin.
With Clay Holmes currently laid up with a shoulder issue, too, and Wandy Peralta trying to hustle back to full capacity at the Alternate Site in Somerset (which keeps getting rained out…), the back end of the Yankees’ first-round ‘pen is almost completely in flux. Both Holmes and Peralta should be available — they’re not on the IL yet! — but if and when they return, significant questions will remain about their varying states of effectiveness.
If you think Marinaccio’s 1.47 WHIP over his past 15 games is bad, wait until you get a load of Holmes’ 4.80 ERA in his past 30 games. Sample size getting larger, folks.
The Yankees are undoubtedly going to go the “mix-and-match” route with their playoff closer — and would probably have done so before this latest rash of injuries (didn’t even mention Zack Britton, probably better that way).
Plenty of Yankees relievers will get a chance to close this October, but after the Marinaccio news dump and as the final series in Texas ends, we’ve ranked the team’s current options in terms of how confident we are in them entering a big situation.
Clarke Schmidt, who can work out of a jam, but probably shouldn’t be your last line of defense
Luis Severino on a throw day, which … could be interesting, but doesn’t get him ranked
Power ranking Yankees’ closer options by comfort entering 2022 MLB Playoffs
5. Wandy Peralta
A fully-healthy Peralta has been a multi-inning fireman for the Yankees plenty of times this year, but at full strength, he’s typically tasked with covering the seventh and portions of the eighth rather than the ninth.
A Peralta recovering from injury? He moves yet another rung down the ladder.
Peralta has been a reliable option for the Yankees all year long, and in tight games with every top ‘pen arm available and rested (post-Michael King injury), he’s usually been the one waiting in the weeds to pitch a potential 10th inning or bail the closer out of trouble in the ninth. Who was there when Clay Holmes loaded the bases with Reds? Or when the Red Sox needed to be extinguished in the 10th inning on July 9? Neither worked, but still…
Without a single post-injury MLB game on his ledger prior to the postseason, Peralta will enter October as somewhat of an unknown — not Zack Britton-level, but who knows how his back will hold up? The lower-leverage his first opportunity, the better.
If Peralta has an electric ALDS, he might be elevated by the time the ALCS rolls around. At this time, we wouldn’t have the utmost confidence in him in a one-run game in the ninth. He’s teetering in Clarke Schmidt territory.