It’s no secret that the Yankees’ bullpen has been downright awful in the early going, and part of that was due to the state of flux caused by Chien-Ming Wang‘s suckiness. Phil Coke, speaking to Marc Carig of The Star Ledger, says that the lack of defined roles have hurt the bullpen’s ineffectiveness. Here’s some telling quotes:
“Even though [the bullpen atmosphere is] loose, you can see it in people’s eyes,” lefty Phil Coke said. “As soon as that phone rings, it goes dead silent.”
“We’re getting used in such a different fashion every time we step on the field,” said Coke, who admits that in several instances this season, he and his colleagues may have been caught mentally unprepared. “We’ve got to be ready to go from the first inning.”
“I feel my role is in the seventh inning, and I’ve got to come in in the second because we have no one else, then I’ve done nothing for my team except hurt my team right out of the chute because of my mental preparation,” Coke said. “As a bullpen guy, you’ve got to be willing to do what you’ve got to do.”
Everyone likes to have defined roles at their job, and Major League pitchers are no different. However there comes a point when that isn’t an excuse anymore, and you have to be prepared to do whatever the team needs. Coke’s admission that he and some of the other relievers have been caught mentally unprepared is part one of the problem, part two is correcting that. None of the current non-Mo relief corps have earned a defined role at this point, and right now everyone is … wait for it … pitching for their job! What a novel idea.
Stop taking it for granted, just do what you’re asked and be ready for anything.