Two relievers, one inning

CC brilliant, Yanks sweep Orioles
The unreliable Brian Bruney

Let me offer you a thinly-veiled comparison between two pitchers.

Pitcher A: 55 G, 55.2 IP, 1.78 ERA, 41 H, 9 BB, 61 K, .199/.233/.316
Pitcher B: 31 G, 39.1 IP, 1.14 ERA, 22 H, 10 BB, 48 K, .162/.218/.204

Bite your tongue if you picked Pitcher B over Pitcher A. Don’t tell Yankee fans that, in this admittedly tiny sample size, Phil Hughes‘ numbers look, if not a little bit better than Mariano Rivera‘s, just as good as Mo’s. Just don’t.

News broke after the game last night that the Sandman is out with a sore left groin. While I’m holding my breath, Rivera isn’t too concerned. “That’s good, because it’s not my pushing leg,” Rivera said of his left leg. “You don’t want to have that kind of injury, especially in your legs, but it’s nothing we’re worried about. We will take care of it and work at it. Everything will be fine.”

The Yankees, enjoying their 7.5-game lead over Boston, plan to take it slow with Mo. We saw a glimpse of that strategy last night. With the Yanks holding to a two-run lead, Joe Girardi altered the pattern. Brian Bruney pitched some of the 8th, and the Phils joined him. Mr. Hughes stayed in for the final three outs of a blow out, and due to the intricacies of baseball’s rule book, he walked away with his second save of the season. It probably won’t be his last.

According to Girardi and Rivera, Mo first felt the pain in his leg while the Yanks were visiting Seattle a few weeks ago, but it had subsided. It came back on Tuesday night after Rivera appeared in his second straight game. It seems as though every year, Rivera goes through a slight malady. This one is a little late in the season for my tastes, but the Yanks are downplaying the injury. “I don’t even know if I would call it a strain,” Girardi said. “So you just kind of give him a few days and see if he can get rid of it. We’ll get it right, get him healthy and make sure it’s 100 percent.”

For the weekend as the Yanks head to Toronto, Rivera won’t pitch. “It’s a concern for you to run him out there,” Girardi said. “We don’t want to hurt him. We’ll probably give him a few days off and see if we can nip it.”

In his stead, then, the Yanks’ closer will be Phil Hughes. And you know what? I have no problem with that. As Hughes’ numbers show, he has been more than up for the task this year out of the pen. He has allowed one double, one triple and one home run while giving up 18 singles in 31 innings. His strike-out numbers are off the charts, and while he can’t quite match Mariano in the control department, that 4.80 K/BB ratio is right in line with Mo’s 2005 season.

So now, the Yankees will use the luxury of the lead to their advantage. The expanded rosters provide them with added bullpen depth, and the emergence of Phil Hughes as a force gives them, in effect, a second closer. He hasn’t wilted under pressure and wants the ball every day. Phil might run into a hiccup at some point this season, but after watching him mow down the Orioles in the 9th last night, I can sleep easy with the game in his hands.

Still, get well really soon, Mo. I want a seven-inning game come October.

CC brilliant, Yanks sweep Orioles
The unreliable Brian Bruney
  • Bo

    But I thought you wanted Hughes to spot start to get innings in Sept???

    Glad you can finally realize that a shutdown bullpen is actually a nice thing to have.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Bo: 1
      Strawman: 0

      • UWS

        Bo: 1 965
        Strawman: 0

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Meh, I don’t like counting. Too much work.

          Sincerely,
          Robinson Cano

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            OR…

            There’s no way I can possibly be expected to count that high. Too much information to remember.

            Sincerely,
            Jorge Posada

          • jsbrendog

            nicely done

          • Yages

            Sorry, but this is another strawman.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Impossible. There are no strawman arguments in the Dominican Republic, because they’re too lazy to either collect the straw or make the argument.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Oh, Bo. You’re so predictable.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        He’s like genital herpes. He’s with you for life, pops up every once in a while with an outbreak or two. You guys should consider getting some Valtrex, really helps keep it under control.

        Sincerely,
        Ron Mexico

        • Klemy

          WARNING: Taking Valtrex could be harmful to your dog’s health.

    • Makavelli

      Hey Bo.

      Cream, no sugar.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
        • Makavelli

          Can’t see this at work…what is it? lol

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            It’s a scene from Jay and Silent Bob strike back with references to someone getting someone else some coffee.

            Check it out later.

            • Klemy

              I love that movie…+100!

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          You went to film school, didn’t you?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            This movie’s gonna make House Party look like House Party 2!

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              You’re a tracer.

              • Makavelli

                Tell em Steve-Dave!

    • Brian

      amazing how the emergance of phil hughes in the bullpen has quieted the joba should relieve stories

  • http://www.twitter.com/shaked RichYF

    I’d really like to see what Melancon and Robertson have to offer in that 8th inning role while He is recovering.

    I don’t trust Coke or Bruney at this point. I like both, but the HRs scare me.

    Coke might just be getting used too often. I’d have to look up some numbers to confirm, but he was being used an awful lot for a while there.

    Either way, there are plenty of fresh arms in the pen and getting Him some rest really isn’t a terrible idea at this point.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I’d really like to see what Melancon and Robertson have to offer in that 8th inning role while He is recovering.

      Agreed. The two of them, along with Marte, should be strong options pre-Hughes for the next however-long-Mo-is out. I’ve said it before and it’s such a pipe dream, but I’d love for Melancon and Robertson to share the closing duties in the post-Mo world.

    • jsbrendog

      I’d really like to see what Melancon and Robertson have to offer in that 8th inning role while He is recovering.

      nice touch with the capital h haha

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Mo it is written, Mo it shall be done.
        Moly, Moly, Moly, Mosanna in the highest.

    • miketotheg

      definitely.

      I think Robertson has something special. He’s lights out when he pitches one inning or less.

  • Andy Hawkins

    Bruney has been truly terrible for a while now, he keeps this up I dont see him making the post season roster

  • Makavelli

    Do you think perhaps Phil Hughes, as unlikely as it seemed even yesterday, could be groomed to succeed The Great Mariano Rivera?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I hope not.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Well, let me rephrase that. I hope not unless he absolutely bombs as a starter, which I don’t see happening.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Seconded.

          I’d much rather have Phil Hughes be a starter for us for the next decade and just go buy a Huston Street or a Joakim Soria when they hit the market.

          • Chris

            Maybe we should by Soria and try to convert him to a starter? He has enough pitches and could probably do it.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Perhaps.

              Soria may be a moot point for a while, though, he’s got team friendly options through 2014. He’s probably off-limits.

              • Chris

                Maybe KC will decide on their own that he should be a starter.

                Wait, that would be smart. I can’t see them doing that, unless they move Greinke to the pen to be the closer.

          • Makavelli

            How old are Street and Soria when they do finally become potentially available?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
            • Tom Zig

              Stop thinking out loud

    • Chris

      Every comment I’ve heard from the Yankees is that he will be a starter next year.

    • Kiersten

      I try as hard as I can not to think about the Yankees post-Mo.

  • matt k

    Can someone help me make sense of the rotation for the toronto series. Gaudin – Joba- Andy – Mitre. why both Gaudin and Mitre?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Why not?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Because it’s the Blue Jays.

    • CountryClub

      They play a DH on Monday and needed a 6th starter no matter what. Mitre going this weekend gives AJ an extra day of rest.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        This. I’m late to the party and didn’t have a chance to comment while in class. They need six pitchers and wanted to give A.J. an extra day. He could use it.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          This. I’m late to the party and didn’t have a chance to comment while in class.

          I don’t want to hear your excuses, Kabak.

          If that’s your real name…

    • Makavelli

      We have a 7.5 game lead on the Red Sox and 9.5 or 10.5 on the Wild Card and we’re playing the Blue Jays.

      Last year we were starting Ponson, Geise, and Rasner constantly in the middle of the season lol. Where were you then?

  • Raf

    i cant wait to read/hear the “Phil could be groomed to be Mo’s replacement” comments. should be fun.

    as long as its nothing major, this could give some other guys in the bullpen work and different looks for Girardi.

    • Chris
      • Makavelli
      • Raf

        well i spoke too soon i guess.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Technically, didn’t you speak to late and not too soon?

        • Tom Zig

          Just ask “that guy” what his opinion is on whether Hughes or Joba should be in the pen

        • Makavelli

          What exactly did you speak “too soon” or “too late” about?

          And now that you have heard them…what exactly is the difference now than it was before I said it?

    • Makavelli

      I don’t know why anybody would lobby for it…but I asked the question above. As MATT ACTY/BBD said above, if he’s a failure as a starter, perhaps that may be an option…but nobody really expects that to happen.

      That being said…haven’t heard much from the “Melancon for Closer” campaign lately. Has he lost that much value in our eyes after his short stints up here?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I expect that the “Melancon for closer” talk will rekindle in 2010 when both Joba and Hughes are back in the rotation and Melancon opens the year in the pen from Day 1.

  • Chris

    Of the 5 ER that Hughes has given up as a reliever 2 were inherited runners that Mo allowed to score (Aug 4 against Toronto). If you take out those two runs, Hughes ERA drops to 0.69.

    • jsbrendog

      heh.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      So it’s all Mo’s fault, eh?

      What a jerkface.

      • Makavelli

        To the “pit of despair” he goes!

      • Chris

        Not all Mo’s fault. Only 40% his fault.

    • sangreal

      Actually, I’ve been wondering — does anyone know the last time Hughes sent a batter around the bases? Mo let a few of his runners score, and Hughes let a few runners he inherited score. When was the last time he put someone on base and sent them home though?

  • GG

    Mo has had this look of pain on his face all year, I guess now we know, since SEA it has been the leg, I feel like he’s been nagged by a lot of little things throughout the year, which makes his ridiculous season look more ridiculous….can’t believe the division is down to 23…..in other news, I just got a Mac (my first), and I don’t know if I like it, I thnk RABing is better with a PC?? I might bring it back. Anyone got some little tricks to point out to me that I don’t know about?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      What info do you need?

      http://www.macforbeginners.com/

      • GG

        You use one yourself? I’ll check that site out
        I liked the F5 to refresh on my last comp…as well as the page up and down, home and end buttons off to the side…I feel like their must be a way to do all that stuff, I just don’t know it….If you RAB with a Mac I’m sure its legit…as I understand it most years you finish within the top 3 of the RAB MVP voting (hosts not included)….It just takes some getting used to I guess, like right now the lack of the window being full screen still seems weird to me, and I hate having to hit control to right click

        • Makavelli

          There’s a RAB MVP voting?

          What other awards? Single Post of the Year Award? etc?

          • jsbrendog

            did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary?

            • Makavelli

              It isn’t?? I have to double check this…

            • kunaldo

              oh rupert…foiled by my own petard!

        • kunaldo

          you have a new mac? i just got one too…

          fn+F5 = refresh
          two finger click on track pad = right click
          two finger swipe = scroll
          three finger swipe(up/down) = home/end

  • donttradecano

    If Bruney, Marte or Roberston can catch fire come playoff time, it could be 6 inning games in october.

    • Tom Zig

      You might need a new name

  • miketotheg

    Remember that chart about games left to play against above .500 teams? about half i think.

    This might get a little hairy. But we need mo for October.

    I see more grey hairs in my future.

  • Accent Shallow

    Awaiting with trepidation a second offseason where the press deems a promising young starter more valuable as a setup man . . .

  • Tom Zig

    My only concern is whether we’ll win 100 games or not

    • Makavelli

      I don’t see why we wouldn’t

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        Because we rest our starters?

        Otherwise this team should get to 103…

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    We pay Mo more than Pettitte so a God like closer is supposdely worth more than a no 3-4 starter…

    The problem with looking at it like that however is that an okeyish closer is not worth much at all but even a mediocre starter has a value as an innings eater (and of course if he’s really bad you can always trade him to a NL team and he’ll become a CY candidate).

    The difference between Mo and everyone else is that he is always solid and most of the time he is great.

    Just because Hughes looks great this year and maybe even better than Mo there is no way you’d feel comfortable that he’d be able to repeat it next year or the year after that. If you knew he’d have a Mo like career turning him into a closer wouldn’t be a horribly bad decision for the Yankees.

    I’ve argued before that for the Yankees a great closer has a higher relative value compared to a no 4 starter than for any other. We build for the post season where every win counts so much more.

    I think Hughes could be better than a no 4 starter so I’m opposed to putting him in the penn, but the argument is different when losing in the WS is seen as a failed season (i.e. Yankees)rather than a great season (everyone else)

  • Mike

    Two relievers one cup?