Despite the struggles of Phil Hughes last night, the Yankees were able to bring the tying and go-ahead runs to the plate on more than one occasion during the game’s late innings. Why? Because the bullpen was utterly lights out.
Three pitchers combined to pitch 5.1 three-hit innings. They combined for one walk and six strikes outs while doing everything they could to keep the Yankees’ dormant offense within spitting distance of the Tigers.
For the Yanks, this newfound bullpen success is a welcome surprise. Over the last five games, the Yanks’ pen has been stellar. The pen has thrown 18 innings, and the pitchers have given up two earned runs on nine hits while walking 10 and striking out 18. While the walk totals area bit high, the strike out totals are excellent.
On the season, the pen’s numbers are pretty good. Yankee relievers have an ERA of 3.72, good for seventh in the AL. They’ve given up 42 runs on 89 hits while walking 39 and striking out 92. Opponents are hitting .237/.314/.349, and the team has blown just one save this season.
But there is a problem: The Yankee bullpen has thrown an AL-leading 101.2 innings this year. They’ve thrown 0.1 innings less than the Major League leaders, and at this rate, the Yanks are going to burn out their bullpen. While they have the fresh arms in the minors and the pen promises to be something of a revolving door this season, the Yanks need more length for their starters. But we knew that already.