The Yankees lost their two best late-game relievers to injury this month, forcing everyone in the bullpen to jump up two notches in responsibility. The eighth and ninth innings have been fine, but we saw the trickle down effect of not having Mariano Rivera and David Robertson last night when David Phelps was brought into the game with the bases loaded in the sixth and was later allowed to pitch through a bases loaded jam in the seventh. It’s trial by fire.
Robertson played catch yesterday for the second time since injuring his oblique about three weeks ago and reported no problems. He still needs to throw off a mound and in a few minor league rehab games before rejoining the team, but the good news is that he doesn’t seem to be too far off. Until he returns, the Yankees and Joe Girardi are going to have to get what they can out of this crop of relievers and ask some guys to pitch in big spots. Phelps allowed a two-run double in that sixth inning but otherwise did okay.
Last night’s game got me thinking about the current state of the bullpen sans Robertson and Mo, specifically about the most reliable arm out there right now. The Yankees are forced to use guys like Phelps in familiar roles due to injury, but they still have some really effective late-game relievers at their disposal. The question is, who do you think is the most reliable? Who is the team’s relief ace at the moment? I’m going to expand on this a little later, but I wanted to get your thoughts first.