What have you done for me lately, Yankee bullpen?

Levitt talks Barrow and the business of baseball
Sean Henn, we hardly knew ye

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.

Levitt talks Barrow and the business of baseball
Sean Henn, we hardly knew ye
  • Bob Michaels

    Heard that Chad Moeller is back, any confirms?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yes, Chad Moeller and his career OPS+ of 62 is back in the Bronx. Hallelujah, we are saved from Chris Stewart. Moeller’s in the lineup tonight.

  • Alex

    Good job on the post. I think the Yankees bullpen is definitely one of the strengths of the team and the mysterious Chris Britton hasn’t even pitched an inning yet. I am happy to see Edwar and Albaladejo up and pitching well.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    The bp is definitely a bright spot where the starters and the offense has sucked. Who knew? We’re all loving our bullpen, Melky, CMW, Andy and Chad Freaking Moeller. And that’s about it. Funny that.

  • adam b.

    i agree with the assessment of the bullpen here, cashman has done an excellent job cultivating and finding talent in the bullpen which is why i think losing joba to the rotation won’t be as bad as other people think. i think the reason everyone wants him there is because we’ve had such a derth of effective relievers to work those high pressure innings, so when we actually find someone who can, even though he’d be more useful throwing 200 innings it looks so enticing. hopefully the likes of ramirez olendorf and albaladejo can make everyone forget about that quickly when joba takes his place in the rotation

  • GoYankees

    We still need two long men to back up Moose, Phil, and IPK. Ohlie was great last night. But he is probably needed to pitch 6th&7th when we’re ahead, as the lead-in to Joba and Mariano.

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      Maybe Hughes should be a ‘long man’ for now as he only seems to be able to get through the lineup once without getting blasted.

      • Mike P

        I thought of that but didn’t dare say it. Blasphemy on RAB?
        Seriously, it could improve his confidence and limit his innings count.

  • question mark

    Phil as long man won’t get him regular work. This is why he needs to work on whatever it is he needs to work on in AAA. Not to knock Phil at all, but I think Rasner can do better than the lowest innings-per-game average in baseball.

    From there, I do think we need a long man and, if “long man” usually equals “not-so-good starter,” then “long man” could equal “Kei Igawa.”

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think what we’ve seen out of the bullpen so far should dispel the notion that “long man” equals “notso-good starter.” Imagine if a not-so-good starter had come in to relief Mussina when the Yanks were up by two on Monday.

      The idea should be to find a long man who can give innings while getting outs.

      • Chris

        I nominate Ohlendorf for the job.

        When Joba moves to the rotation later this year he can slide into the 8th inning role, which should keep his innings down.

        • steve (different one)

          he already has it ;)

      • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

        “Not-so-good-starter” should be probably be replaced with “Decent-starter-with-only-one-or-two-good-pitches”.

        And since Hughes is only going to use his FB and curve *anyway*…. (j/k)

  • Chris

    The situation with the bullpen is where you’re seeing that Girardi is better than Torre. Despite essentially leading the league in relief innings, no reliever is on pace for more than 70 appearances. Everyone who has been in the pen all year has pitched in 10, 11 or 12 games.

    Ohlendorf has the most innings pitched at 20, which puts him on pace for 58 games and 116 innings. This would almost exactly match what Mo pitched in ’96 (61 games 108 innings).

    Right now, I’m not too worried about everyone blowing out their arms because the workload has been distributed very evenly.

  • Stephen

    The bullpen has been good but I’m still afraid that it will get burnt out before too long. When will Torre learn not to overuse relievers… oh wait.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      It ain’t Girardi’s fault that the starters aren’t giving innings, and as Chris pointed out right above you, Girardi’s been much better at sharing the workload.

      • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

        Indeed he is. I keep waiting for Proctor to come in, though.

        Old habits die hard.

  • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

    Definitely impressed with Albaladejo (had to copy & paste that, heh) last time out. When he and Ohlendorf are on, they’re super aggressive with the strike zone and the fastballs are moving in & out like mad – such a pleasure to watch.

  • Brian

    Looks like Britton is back, taking A-Rod’s spot. Suppose Moeller is replacing Stewart…

    • steve (different one)

      i didn’t think you could do that, but i guess i am wrong.

      i thought if you recall someone before the 10 days, it had to be for an injury (which there was). but i thought you could only recall pitcher for pitcher or pos. player for pos. player.

      then again, they may be calling Britton the backup 3Bman….why not?

      • Brian

        Yeah, I don’t know. However they did it, it’s curious that they chose Britton again. You would think Rasner deserves a look at this point with Ohlendorf pitching last night. But then again, with Betemit getting some Scranton time, this could be a very short stay again for someone, and who better than Britton? Maybe he never really left, so that’s why Veras or the long-forgotten S. Patterson aren’t getting roped in here.

        • Brian

          This is surely an indication of the wear-and-tear suggested in the post. They need another arm, if even for a night. So Britton probably gets his due tonight, or Cashman is clearly reading the blogs, or he’s a “cat” at third after watching Giambi for all these weeks.

          • steve (different one)

            unfortunately for Rasner, he isn’t on the 40 man and he is out of options.

            so, they could put him on the 40 man, but then they won’t be able to send him back down without exposing him to waivers, and i don’t see how he would go unclaimed.

            • Brian

              see, knowledge like this is critical in times like when kei igawa gets called up to start for hughes and all of us scream WHA-BOU-RASNAH!!! thank you. but regardless, they should call him up and make him the “long man” and stop Ohlie at two innings.

  • Pingback: What to Make of Phil Hughes « iYankees

  • nefarious jackson

    read on another site that blogger fav Sean Henn has been DFA’ed… sh*t happens

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Albie, Ohlie, Britton, Edwar, LaTroy, The Sandwich Pick, Traber, Veras, Patterson… I think we’re doing good. And am I wrong for believing that we’ll probably get contributions from J.B. Cox, Steven White, Steven Jackson, Jeff Marquez, and David Robertson this year as well?