Bullpens prove the difference in weekend series

2010 Draft: Day Two High School Arms
A classy spokesman exploiting his niche

The Yankees executed the game plan well this weekend. They continued their penchant for taking pitches, which prevented each Angels’ starter from pitching the seventh inning. They knocked out Ervin Santana and Joel Pineiro after six, and tagged Scott Kazmir during that inning. The overall line for the Angels’ staters didn’t look too pretty:

17.1 IP, 22 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 6 BB, 8 K, 3 HR, 297 pitches (just over 17 per inning)

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

That left the Angels bullpen to cover 9.2 innings during those three days, which usually means success for the Yankees. They take pitches not only to work favorable counts, but also to tire out the starting pitcher. This means more innings for the bullpen, and since most bullpens feature pitchers weaker than the team’s starters the Yankees typically feast. At least, that’s the idea. Over the weekend the Angels’ bullpen pitched very well, allowing just one run in those 9.1 innings. Their final combined line:

9.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Even with the five walks the Angels relievers allowed less than a base runner per inning, an excellent feat against a lineup like the Yankees. All three hits came during Saturday’s affair, a game which the Yankees had well at hand before Scot Shields relieved Joel Pineiro to start the seventh. In the two close games, Friday and Sunday, the Angels relievers held the Yankees to no hits and just three walks while striking out five in 6.2 IP.

This stands in contrast to what the Yankees bullpen accomplished over the weekend. While the Angels relievers were busy keeping the Yankees off the base paths, the Yankees relievers proceeded to blow two close games. That’s not an indictment of the entire staff, of course. David Robertson pitched very well in his two-out stint on Friday, retiring both batters he faced. Instead, it was just two relievers who performed poorly for the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte.

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

On Friday night Joba opened the inning by allowing a single and a homer. He continued his shakiness, allowing a single and a deep fly ball to the next two batters before settling down a bit and retiring the side on two easy fly balls. On Sunday Marte clearly didn’t have it, as he walked a guy and hit a guy before falling behind on Kendry Morales 3-0. There were plenty of questions to ask afterwards, including why Girardi let Marte throw that pitch to Morales. It was also questionable to remove Aceves after his 1.2 perfect innings. No matter the management, though, those two losses are on the relievers who allowed the runs (though Sunday’s loss is much easier to pin on Vazquez).

Other than those two performances, the Yankees’ bullpen did just as well as its Angels counterpart. Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre, Al Aceves, David Robertson, and Saturday’s Damaso Marte combined for the following line:

5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

The Angels just happen to run into a couple of bad performances. On another weekend perhaps the Yanks take better advantage of Fernando Rodney’s wildness, maybe they mount a rally against Brian Fuentes, maybe they can hit Jason Bulger and Scot Shields like the rest of the league has to this point. This weekend, though, the Angels bullpen won. The Yanks bullpen made a valiant effort, but two poor performances from otherwise good relievers were the differences in two games. That will happen.

2010 Draft: Day Two High School Arms
A classy spokesman exploiting his niche
  • Jeremy

    The failure to score against Rodney was frustrating. He seems like the kind of reliever who is just waiting to implode against the Yankees.

  • matt damon wayans

    This is exactly the type of post I love to see on RAB; looking at the strengths of another team fairly. No doubt Halos Heaven has posted some ridiculous article gloating about beating a team of violent, steroid addicted, over-payed Prima donnas.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      who spit on the baseball

      • Chris

        Between Mo spitting on baseball present and A-Rod destroying the history of the game, it’s amazing that MLB even allows the Yankees to continue to operate.

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          and chan ho park although he totally did spit on it last year haha

  • YankeesJunkie

    Weekends when the Yankees are not quite on are going to happen. At least there next nine games are versus Baltimore and CWS they have a very good shot of taking at least 6 of these games.

    • Chris

      At least there next nine games are versus Baltimore and CWS they have a very good shot of taking at least 6 all 9 of these games.

      Fixed that. I’m ready for the Yankees to stop playing teams that are (or at least should be) good.

  • Beamish

    How long until a Steinbrenner calls Joba a “fat pussy toad”?

    Joba needs to grunt, snort and fart more – then he will be a better reliever.

  • Rose

    Can anybody pinpoint what has happened to Joba since 2007 when he was domininant? Is it the Joba rules? He went from being an untouchable set up man to a inexperienced young starter on a tight leash to a slightly above average bullpen guy.

    2007 and 2008 were great…but 2009 he came back down to earth (even though he did very well for an inexperienced young starter) and now back in the bullpen full time he’s mediocre again (and I use the term mediocre loosely).

    It had to have been the joba rules…

    • bexarama

      I’m not really one who can talk at length about this but the injury in 2008 certainly didn’t help.

    • A.D.

      The Joba Rules likely had nothing to do with it, given than not over working a young pitcher while getting him regular work should never make him get worse, and because the rules existed in 2007 only, and were gone by the beginning of 2008.

      The likeliest reason is the shoulder injury in 2008, given that his velocity has never been as consistent since, which could naturally lead to more nibbling, etc. or perhaps it’s mechanical changes or general young pitcher struggles that can happen.

    • Chris

      It had to have been the joba rules…

      No it didn’t. The Joba rules had nothing to do with it. Basically every young pitcher today goes through a similar deal with increasing innings and being on limits. We only hear about Joba because it’s happening in the majors.

      There is nothing in the “Joba rules” that would have caused him to lose a couple MPH off his fastball. Maybe his mechanics were changed to prevent injury. Maybe he’s holding back some because of injury. I don’t know what it is, but I am 100% confident that having some limits on his pitch count and innings didn’t cause him to suddenly lose the ability to pitch.

      • Rose

        There is nothing in the “Joba rules” that would have caused him to lose a couple MPH off his fastball.

        Starting every so many days and then being placed as a bullpen guy going on any day they need you is a tad different. The amount of innings pitched one year and a higher than normal (according to some) the next year. These could all contribute that were all a part of the Joba Rules.

        Everybody is probably right where it probably was the injury…but you can’t say that there is nothing in the joba rules that could have caused anything to have happened. You can’t say that with any certainty.

        • CS Yankee

          I think a person can reasonably say with certainly that “the Joba rules” could not of had a negative impact arm wise.

          Let’s also recall that a young kids often gets jerked back and forth until a spot is open and he proves his value. They take great care in these arms versus decades earlier.

          However, those limits might of had a mechanical or mental affect since he doesn’t have the chance to use 4 pitches while in relief mode. The mental aspect, going from both, could affect his ego (thus limits his performance).

    • Frank

      Don’t know if it has anything to do with the “Joba rules.” What I don’t understand is why he was deemed last week to be the 8th inning set up to Mo when the fact of the matter is he hasn’t proven he deserves it.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        It might have to do with them proving he can set-up. Everyone felt they went through hell and high water to prove he could could so now it’s kinda the opposite

  • colin

    i think robertson needs to be used more, he was beasting at the end of last year, and it seems like he’s barely getting in games

    • bexarama

      He was out for a while attending his grandmother’s funeral. Girardi pulling him out on Friday when he was obviously cruising and had thrown, what, six pitches? was not a great move, though.

    • Thomas

      I think Robertson hasn’t seen a whole lot of action due to the success of the starters and the initial bullpen pecking order.

      At the start of the season Robertson was tied for fourth in bullpen order behind Rivera, Chamberlain, and Marte and tied with Park and Aceves. Since the starters have overall done very well, the bullpen hasn’t needed to pitch very much. The only start who has pitched poorly and had short starts was Vazquez. Vazquez’s starts were often so short often Girardi went with Park or Aceves for multiple innings, while only pitching Robertson to get out of a jam mid-inning, or the starts were so bad that Girardi didn’t want to waste an arm like Robertson.

      I am sure this will correct itself as the season wears on.

  • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captains Blog

    More than the bullpens being the difference, I think Giradi’s use of his was the difference.

    In the two losses, Girardi allowed formulaic thinking to force Joba into an 8th inning that featured a very bad matchup against Morales. Then, in the Sunday game, he lifts Aceves, who was was sailing along, for Marte, and even when he struggles allows him to pitch to Morales…again.

    • bexarama

      I’ve said this before, but I didn’t see a real problem with putting in Marte yesterday. His performance was obviously not too good though and the at-bat to Morales was horrendous. When they got him to 3-0 they should have just walked him.

      • Frank

        Marte’s entire outing yesterday was horrible (walking Abreu and hitting Hunter). Feeding Morales a 3-0 cookie with 2 outs in a 1 run game to put the game out of reach was just the icing on the cake.

  • ADam

    If you would have told me a month ago that the Yanks would not lose their first series until Late April on the road against the Halos, i would have said you where nuts.. Couple of blips but this team is Solid..

  • larryf

    That steal of third by Hunter with 2 outs was exceedingly dumb and annoying. Sucks that he made it.

  • nick blasioli

    the yankees are solid,,except for the fourth starter….vasquez really sucks…hes just a national league pitcher….we should look to trade real soon…

    • W.W.J.M.D.

      don’t forget texiera…., we should trade him and call-up that Montero kid, I hear he rakes.

    • CS Yankee

      Don’t know if your serious?

      If CC had these numbers most would give him a pass due to his prior performance. Javy has had high success in the majors. He is not a top 5 reason why 2004 occurred.

      I don’t like his trend but the season is less than 12% long. The bashing may only extend the poor results. He is capable of being any teams third starter, give him some respect.

      Save the nooses until July at least.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        He’s 100% serious.

        • CS Yankee

          That’s sad, very sad.

          I don’t get the National League pitcher point as well. DH versus pitcher thing aside, there have been some great NL pitchers that have done extremely well (or better) in the AL (Pedro, Curt, etc).

          Javy was in the same divison as the Phillies, pitched great and had only an average (or below) lineup behind him.