2. Clay Holmes
Even as Clay Holmes’ struggles piled up this summer, the Yankees still viewed him as their primary fireman. Right up until the finale of the Milwaukee series, when Peralta’s back issues became evident as he failed to retire a batter, Holmes was counted on as the right man for the job, even as the base runners mounted behind him.
The last time Holmes returned from an injury concern, it was his partially-phantom (?) IL stint for a back issue at his lowest point in mid-August. When he came back there, he was immediately re-inserted as the team’s de facto closer, showing flashes of his old stuff before this latest shoulder injury reared its ugly head.
“He’s done it before” is rhetorical gibberish; every great closer started as someone who’s never closed before. That said, Holmes’ longer track record and experience engender more confidence than a Trivino save opportunity. It’s just true.
When Holmes doesn’t have command and control of his 97 MPH super-sinker, though … he just doesn’t have it. Prior to his latest absence, most of the chatter centered around how he was flopping out of the circle of trust yet again, allowing a run in back-to-back appearances at Fenway and getting walked off in Milwaukee … before he “found it” in a two-inning stint at home against the Sox, then disappeared forever.
Holmes occupying the No. 2 spot shows just how unsettled this bullpen still is. And this is why depth matters. It’d be awfully nice to have more potential names for the 10th inning (and as Holmes insurance) beyond Peralta and Schmidt. Marinaccio will be extremely missed.
And then there’s No. 1, almost by default…