Little chance Bruney makes the postseason roster


It’s no wonder the Yankees have shown so much patience with Brian Bruney. Dominant relief pitchers don’t come around that often, and in 2008 and early 2009 Bruney appeared to be just that. He pitched well both before and after a lisfranc injury last season, and opened 2009 with a bang. Two injuries later and he’s just not the same. The Yankees continue to give Bruney chances, but each one is a reminder that this is not the guy who struck out five straight Rays over two games.

Even in August, when he had a 0.87 ERA, Bruney still didn’t look reliable. He only allowed one run over 10.1 innings, but that might have been a string of reliever’s luck. He struck out only five in that span and walked seven. Opponents reached base 37.5 percent of the time. He threw 201 pitches, almost 20 per inning. With peripherals like that, it’s no wonder he’s struggled in September.

This month Bruney has appeared in nine games, the same number as August, though has pitched 4.2 fewer innings. He’s throwing fewer pitches, but not many, around 19 per inning. Opponents get on base 41.4 percent of the time. His strikeout to walks ratio sits at 4:5. The difference is that teams have gotten to him this time around, going deep twice for a .583 slugging percentage.

Over the course of 2009, Bruney has gone from lights out setup man to questionable postseason roster candidate. The Yankees will take only 10 pitchers to the ALDS, and Bruney doesn’t appear to be one of the 10 best on the roster. Can they trust him in a playoff appearance? Certainly not the way he’s pitching now. He’ll have to show considerable improvement in the season’s last 10 games, and even that might not be enough to convince the Yankees to take the chance.

Bryan Hoch examines Bruney’s woes which, the Yankees think, relate to a mechanical issue. There are plenty “I feel good” quotes in the article, but perhaps the most interesting paragraph reads

The question is if the Yankees have enough time to allow Bruney to continue ironing out what he said have been season-long mechanical problems — bad habits on the mound that have plagued him relating to his hip rotation.

That doesn’t sound like an easy problem to fix. Bruney will have a maximum five games to work it out, and even then he’ll likely only get into three or four more before the regular season ends. Some improvement would be encouraging, but would it be enough to put him on the postseason roster? Not quite, I would think. There are certainly 10 more deserving candidates, especially with David Robertson slated to return this weekend.

It’s a shame what happened to Bruney this season. It appeared he was coming into his own, and then we found out he was unavailable for the first game of the first Boston series. It’s been downhill from there. There’s a chance Bruney could recover, but he probably won’t get a real chance again until 2010.

Categories : Death by Bullpen


  1. Gee. What a loss. I’m so disappointed I won’t get to watch Brian Bruney put two runners on base and record only two outs in a blowout in October.

  2. pat says:

    I don’t blame Girardi for giving him a long leash but sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade.

  3. Tom Zig says:

    Will Bruney be a Yankee in 2010?

  4. When do the Yankees reach the end of the line with Bruney? They obviously can’t cut ties with him after this season, but I’d say if 2009 repeats itself in 2010, Bruney’s gonna hit that dusty trail.

  5. Mister Delaware says:

    I don’t understand the logic of 10 pitchers; 11 seems logical and even 12 would make a lot more sense than 10. Does that mean the bench is Gardner, Hinske, Hairston, Pena plus the 2 catchers? What role does Pena even play; none of the IFs are going to be lifted for a PH or defensive replacement and Hairston is sufficient injury insurance if Cano/Jeter/Rodriguez have to miss a game.

    • Ed says:

      I’m assuming they’re going with a 3 man rotation for the first round. At that point, you’re debating between an 8th reliever and a 5th bench player. If either one of those guys being important is pretty low.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Maybe we’ll just take 24 players and then have Bruney, Melancon, and a bench player sitting outside the ballpark in case a need arises

    • Here’s the bench breakdown, by priority:
      1.) Backup C: A must. Either Molina or Cervelli (probably Molina on experience).
      2.) Lefty PH: A must. Hinske.
      3.) Righty PH: A must. Hairston.
      4.) LIDR OF: A must, with both Damon and Swisher capable of an error. Gardner.
      5.) LIDR IF: Valuable, but not super necessary, since all four of our infielders are good defenders. Still, though, an elite UTI would be a nice security blanket. Either Hairston or Peña.
      6.) Pinchrunner: Valuable, probably more valuable than the LIDR IF, given the makeup of our starting lineup. Either Gardner or Guzman, but Guzman is better.

      Now, you can fill some roles with more than one guy, but the more guys you have the better, because it lets you do things like pinchrun twice in a close game, or use a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, and then two LIDRs while still keeping players in reserve.

      I’d say, if we go with 10 pitchers and a 6 man bench, it’s Molina-Hinske-Hairston-Gardner-Guzman-Peña. If it’s only the 5 man bench, lop off Peña (since Hairston can do his job and of the 6 roles, the one least likely to be needed twice is the LIDR IF.

    • The Yanks need only 10 pitchers in the first round because they will have three starters and seven relievers. You don’t need more than that, and the Yanks will have a very deep bench.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        I guess I’m failing to see the need for an extremely deep bench. 6 guys aren’t coming out unless injured, Posada would only come out in the 9th for a PR, Matsui maybe an inning or two earlier. The CF slot could see some real movement and I guess the Guzman logic does make sense given that burning Gardner means Melky can’t be hit for, but I still don’t understand why Pena would be included. He’d only be used in a tragedy so Gardner, Hinske, Hairston, Molina and Guzman would suffice as the bench. The extra pitcher, even if it is an 8th pen guy, would have a far better shot of contributing than a 3rd pinch runner (which is what Pena or Guzman would be).

        (When Pena scores the winning run as Matsui’s PR in the 12th inning versus Detroit, I promise to say I was wrong.)

  6. Makavelli says:

    The fact that there is even “little chance” he DOES make the postseason roster is concerning…

    At this point he’s not even a mop up guy as he’s almost a guarantee to give up hits, walks, runs, and whatever else he’s being paid NOT to do…

    He should be packaged together with Edwar Ramirez and sold to the China in exchange for a pu pu platter for 2.

  7. MatyRuggz says:

    Brian Bruney makes Mark Melancon look like Mariano Rivera.

  8. “Little chance Bruney makes the postseason roster”

    Huh, fancy that. Well, I hope this “Little chance Bruney” guy pitches better than Brian Bruney, now that he’s made the postseason roster.

  9. Dela G says:

    Bruney should be shipped onto a plane to siberia

  10. Dela G says:

    Unrelated, but this is the roster for today

    How the heck is Alex not playing as he owns the angels?

    *per YES NETWORK

    Derek Jeter SS
    Jerry Hairston 3B
    Mark Teixeira 1B
    Hideki Matsui DH
    Shelley Duncan RF
    Robinson Cano 2B
    Melky Cabrera LF
    Brett Gardner CF
    Jose Molina C

    Pitching: A.J. Burnett (11-9, 4.22)

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