May
29

Boone Logan, Relief Ace

By

A smile! (REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

Boone Logan is the Yankees’ relief ace right now. A year ago that would have been pretty scary, but a new emphasis on his slider has morphed the 27-year-old left-hander into a strikeout machine — 36.3% of all batters this season (38.8% vs. LHB and 32.2% vs. RHB) — and the team’s most consistently reliable reliever in 2012. Rafael Soriano has been solid in the late innings and Cory Wade continues to get outs with his finesse approach, but Logan has emerged as the team’s best reliever in the wake of Mariano Rivera‘s and David Robertson‘s injuries.

Along with increased effectiveness comes increased responsibility, and Boone has assumed a prominent late-inning role this month. So prominent that Joe Girardi didn’t use him in obvious matchup situation last night because it was still too early in the game. With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning of a one-run game, Girardi used right-hander David Phelps to pitch to Kendrys Morales despite the switch-hitter’s massive platoon split: .352 wOBA vs. RHP and .214 wOBA (with a .000 ISO!) vs. LHP. Sure enough, Morales doubled in two costly runs.

“If I was going to turn (Kendrys) around I was going to do it with Boonie, and Boonie’s one of the guys I use in the seventh and the eighth now,” said Girardi after the game. “So I just felt it was too early.”

Logan eventually did face Morales, with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth inning, after the Yankees scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie. He faced only the one batter. That’s the double-edged sword of having a reliever emerge as a bullpen force, they get pigeon-holed into specific innings. Using Phelps to face Morales in the sixth inning didn’t cost the Yankees the game last night but it didn’t exactly help their cause either. When Robertson gets healthy, it’ll be nice to see Logan used a little more liberally in the middle innings.

The majority of the voters in this morning’s poll want to see Soriano on the mound when the game is on the line but I couldn’t disagree more. With all due to respect to the fill-in closer — who has been very good following the injuries despite his knack for baserunners — Logan has been more effective this season and he’s the guy I want out there in big spots, even if there’s a right-hander at the plate. Of course using your best reliever in the biggest spot of the game is far easier said than done, but sometimes, like last night, the situation is staring you right in the face.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • StanfordBen

    “If I was going to turn (Kendrys) around I was going to do it with Boonie, and Boonie’s one of the guys I use in the seventh and the eighth now,” said Girardi after the game. “So I just felt it was too early.”

    Good lord, this is just horrible reasoning, and the way he phrases it is almost an admission of how bad it is. Not that the move was the worst in the world, it’s just that the reasoning isn’t good. High leverage at bats are high leverage at bats even if they occur before the 7th/8th, and that’s when you want your best pitchers/matchups to be used.

    • Smart Guy

      I was gonna quote the same thing, girardi is a freaking moron!

      • Gonzo

        It’s like he’s saying runs saved in the 5/6th innings mean less than runs saved later in the game? Maybe he feels that way about the seasons too. That games won at the end of a regular season mean more than games won earlier.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I don’t want to take anything away from Logan but Soriano has been an elite reliever many years now. Logan’s been hot for a couple months being put into plenty of low leverage and loogy situations. To say you’d take logan over soriano is too extreme for me

    • Slu

      I agree 100%. And relying on Logan against right handers seems a bit crazy to me right now. Logan needs to pitch like this for much longer to be as trustworthy as Soriano.

      • Smart Guy

        ever since Arod fixed him in cincy this is Logan:

        3.06 ERA 64K’s 11 BB out of those 11 4 were IBB

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I don’t think Soriano has been elite with the Yankees at all. Good? Certainly. Elite? No way.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        It would be like saying you’d rather have bryan lahair than albert pujols or carlos ruiz over joe mauer or melky cabrera over jose bautista. It’s May, Soriano is established, Logan is a hot hand.
        I get the point you were trying to make you just took it too far for me.
        I’d certainly like for Logan to get some more high leverage work as he might be emerging as a breakout pen star, but w the season on the line you’d honestly throw out everything from the past 3-5 years because of the past 2 months? It’s not as if Soriano has performed poorly, he’s been pretty good himself.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          How many good seasons as a closer did Soriano have? How has he looked with the Yanks thus far? I agree the track record is better, but let’s not get crazy here.

  • Chris

    is Rapada injured, why didnt they go to him in that situation and if he gives up a hit then you go to Phelps

    • vin

      Because Rapada is there to get lefties out… not turn around switch hitters. In that circumstance, I’d rather see the Phelps face Morales than Rapada.

      • Bunt Gardner

        That makes about as much sense as Giardi’s decision.

  • A.D.

    That’s the double-edged sword of having a reliever emerge as a bullpen force, they get pigeon-holed into specific innings.

    More like that’s the massive flaw of pigeon-holing good relievers into a a specific inning based role

    • Gonzo

      Very nice way to put it.

      • DF

        Agreed. I’ve also heard Joe say several times on the podcast in the past months that relievers are pigeon-holed because it works, or something to that effect. That relievers perform better because they prefer to know when they will be used rather than wondering.

        It’s starting to drive me crazy. Relievers only say that because they’ve been trained to say that. They are reflexively defending the status quo without a shred of reflection on it.

        If, say, a reliever is surprised to enter a game and then coughs up a grand slam, which is more likely: that he would have gotten the out had he known it was “his” inning to come in? Or that baseball contains a lot of inherent randomness and the lack of warning had nothing to do with it?

        Closers always know when they’re coming in. They get bombed all the time.

        • MannyGeee

          “that baseball contains a lot of inherent randomness and the lack of warning had nothing to do with it?”

          Try as you might, Suzyn…

          #YCPB

  • A.D.

    Logan was also pretty damn good to end 2010

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Is that pic of smiling Soriano photoshopped?

  • Jedua

    It’s been said before, but I’ll say It again …

    We won the trade!!!!

  • Robinson Tilapia

    All we ever read about Logan is how he was ridiculously rushed to the bigs by the White Sox. It’s very possible that, at still a young age, he’s becoming the pitcher they thought he could be. Thrilled to see him doing well.

    • #28 in 2012

      Boone to the rotation!?

      • MannyGeee

        stuff plays better in the 4th inning.

        • JMK

          Ha, I laughed.

  • #28 in 2012

    This was a Joe Torrean fuck up on Girardi’s part. Should have gone with his hunch instead of the old binder. How is the highest leverage situation is not the highest priority?
    In the end, if Drob is healthy, we may not be reading this post. Phelps looked kind of scared in the stretch with the bases loaded. He did strike Pujols out in the 8th and got pissed right after that. I love Davis Phelps’ attitude, dude is pissed all the time, even right after a Pujols’ swing and miss.
    Here is to seeing DRob back soon!

    • LiterallyFigurative

      A pissed David Phelps = a good David Phelps.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Should have gone with his hunch instead of the old binder.

      Should have had better info in the binder. Like Morales’s platoon split.

      • #28 in 2012

        I think Girardi actually admitted to be aware of the split, just couldnt allow himself to bring his 7th inning guy in the 6th. If its not the binder, its some sort of OCD.

        • Gonzo

          Could you imagine this guy in his personal life?

          “Honey, I almost ran a yellow light! I have to control myself more.”

        • DF

          Right, so in this case going by the binder would have been the correct move. Girardi ignored it in favor of faulty reasoning. This is an argument for the binder, not against it.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Don’t let that get in the way of the narrative, though. All the narratives come back into play when a winning streak gets snapped.

    • MannyGeee

      Are we sure that Phelps kid is not a Latino? So firey…

      Regards,
      Jarrod Saltalamaccia

  • Gonzo

    Is Arodys going to the pen when he gets back?

  • mt

    Why no Rapada then? Joe makes pitching changes in a lot less obvious situations so why the hesitation here? Why is Rapada on team then? Morales was the only lefty threat tp neutralize in that lineup.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Because Rapada is a disaster against righties.

      • Crime Dog

        Could it have been worth risking Rapada as a disaster vs righties facing Morales who’s a disaster against lefties in that scenario?

        • Smart Guy

          no! the correcdt move was to bring in logan there, the game was on the line right there, you dont hold possibilities for future events that havent happened, thats why Girardi is a moron! bases were loaded!, theres no excuse about later, you worry about later LATER