Isn’t it funny how baseball works sometimes?
Until tonight, the Yankee bullpen had been fairly stellar this season. In 46.2 innings (yikes), the bullpen as a whole was sporting a nifty 3.09 ERA. They had allowed 41 hits and just four home runs while striking out 43 and walking 13. The starters on the other hand had a 4.34 ERA in 66.1 innings while sporting an ugly 3:2 K:BB ratio.
So tonight, the Yanks got a solid six-inning outing from their starting pitcher while the bullpen imploded. Billy Traber — on what was actually a pretty good pitch — gave up a two-run home run to Carl Crawford, and Brian Bruney gave up two solo shots to allow the Rays to tie the game. In less than an inning, the Yanks’ bullpen nearly doubled the number of home runs allowed this season.
But a few minutes later, Robinson Canó, coming off the bench, made the point moot. His home run — a no-doubter into the right field seats — secured the Yankee win. Bruney settled down in the 8th, and Mariano Rivera nailed down his first four-out save of the season. The Yanks went back to their hotels at a happy .500.
While for one day, the stay in Yankeeland is no longer falling, tonight’s game provided us with a few interesting observations. First, we see Brian Bruney emerging as a trusted arm in the bullpen. Bruney blew the game but was allowed to stay in. He settled down and got the outs he needed. In 10 innings this year, he’s struck out 10 and walked just three. That is a promising start.
Relatedly, Kyle Farnsworth was nowhere to be found tonight. He can’t — or won’t — pitch on back-to-back days, and after his appearance yesterday, he’s safely in the Yankee doghouse. I know the team would be better off with Jonathan Albaladejo or Chris Britton instead of Farnsworth, and even teams — such as the Tigers — need bullpen help. Farnsworth just should be gone.
It’s also worth pondering the weather. The Yanks’ bats came alive during warm weather in the dome. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Anyway, here’s to a solid win after a rough weekend. May Pettitte deliver the start of a streak later today.
Game Notes: Ian Kennedy has a bruised hip but is otherwise fine. Basically, he’ll have a nasty black-and-blue mark for the next few days but is not expected to miss any time…At what point do the Yanks give Alberto Gonzalez the job currently held by Wilson Betemit? It’s almost tempting to ponder a Yankee infield with Jeter at first, Gonzalez at short and Jason Giambi relegated to his DH/bench spot. You have to believe the team would be better.