The New York Yankees' bullpen is taxed. It might be the best in the league, but it's unclear how much longer that will last. Quite frankly, it's already felt like the wheels might've been coming off a few times now because we've seen concerning struggles, at different times, from all of the high-leverage guys.
Think that's a coincidence? As Max Goodman of NJ.com pointed out, all of Clay Holmes, Michael King, Wandy Peralta and Ron Marinaccio are on pace to pass their total number of games and innings from 2022 -- and for most of them, it'd also mark career highs.
It's only mid-June and the Yankees have had to lean on the strongest aspect of their roster to keep them on pace in the AL East. At 39-31, who knows how much worse it'd be if this unit weren't nails.
And it seems the team realized that for the first time this past Wednesday night when Aaron Boone opted to use a clearly tired Marinaccio, Tommy Kahnle (his first back-to-back), Albert Abreu and Nick Ramirez in a winnable game.
The offense was to blame for that one, but it's obvious the Yankees are starting to take steps to rest their guys. They had Monday and Thursday off this week and were exercising caution during a two-game series. So what's the holdup on using left-hander Matt Krook, who is here and ... sitting in the bullpen?
What's taking the Yankees so long to use prospect Matt Krook?
Another hat tip to Goodman here! Krook, who we've talked about extensively this season, has been active for 12 games this year and had yet to throw a pitch ... until he was debuted in the worst possible situation on Friday night against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Krook got called up on May 27 and has been soaking up his time on the bench, which raised concerns about his usage. Wouldn't he be better off getting regular work at Triple-A with the RailRiders? After his call-up on May 27, he got sent back down to Scranton, pitched one inning, then found himself back on the Yankees. So he had pitched in three innings since May 24 leading up to Friday night.
Maybe there was a grander plan we're not privy to? Well, we thought that, until manager Aaron Boone called on him to pitch in a useless game against our most hated division rival who always destroys us when we head to their ballpark in recent years.
With the Yankees' first series at Fenway of the season, you would've thought that was the most inopportune time to deploy the left-hander. But not fo the Yankees, who are famously bad at this. They had the chance to use Krook at home against the White Sox and Red Sox and even in a lesser harsh environment at Citi Field this week. But nope. A blowout at Fenway? That'll be good for the youngster's confidence, especially since he hasn't taken the mound at all since June 3.
Krook lasted 1.2 innings and gave up five runs on four hits and a walk, including a grand slam to Justin Turner, after the Sox had already knocked Domingo Germán out of the game following two innings of work. Again, just wrong. Like Clarke Schmidt in Baltimore in 2020. Like Oswald Peraza in Tampa last year.
Wrong move. Bad outcome. Anyone sitting at home could've told you that. Wonder when the people calling the shots will realize.