Winning at all (bullpen) costs


(Patrick McDermott/Getty)

I’m going to start by repeating something I said this morning, but it’s worth it: the season is not on the line in Game Three tonight but it might as well be. Coming back from a three games to none deficit in a best-of-seven series is not unprecedented, but it is incredibly difficult. For all intents and purposes, a loss tonight would be a one-way ticket to the offseason. That’s the situation the Yankees have played (really hit, I have a hard time blaming the pitchers for anything) themselves into.

Because of this, Joe Girardi has to manage tonight like it is a Game Seven, particularly with his bullpen in relief of Phil Hughes. There’s little reason to hold anyone back for tomorrow or later in the series. This isn’t the regular season anymore, there’s no point in worrying about keeping guys fresh in the long-term when the offseason could be two days away. Girardi typically does a great job of keeping his bullpen rested during the summer, but all of that should go out the window now.

Thankfully, the core late-game relievers are well-rested. Not only did Monday’s travel day give everyone a day off, but David Robertson and Rafael Soriano also had Sunday’s game off as well. They didn’t even warm up. Furthermore, CC Sabathia is scheduled to start Game Four on normal rest tomorrow night, and he’s one of the very few pitchers who can be counted on to go out and soak up seven or more innings without thinking twice. Sabathia should make everyone, including Girardi, feel a little bit better about using the bullpen heavily tonight.

If push comes to shove in Game Three in a few hours, multiple innings from both Robertson and Soriano should be on the table. Soaking up nine total outs in a close game seems like a given, maybe even more if things get really messy. Both guys are rested, Sabathia is going tomorrow, and the game is of paramount importance. This is when a team needs to rely on its top bullpen arms and the Yankees are lucky enough to have two dynamite right-handers capable of getting both lefties and righties out. They’re a luxury who will be a necessity tonight.


  1. Leonard Parker says:

    Are you kidding? If, god forbid, the Yankees are down by 1 or 2, Girardi is going to put Lowe, Logan, or Eppley in again to face Cabrera and Fielder, just like he did in Games 1 and 2. Then we will lose. But Soriano and Robertson will be fresh if they need to pitch in a save situation in Game 4!

    • Drew says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I have very little faith in Girardi doing the right thing and managing tonight as a win at all costs game.

      • Robinson Tilapia (I Believe in Scoring Runs!) says:

        Except that he might see things completely differently than Leonard does and still feel like he’s doing the right thing.

        I think he may manage at all costs AND you still may see Rapada or Logan in there for a batter.

    • Rey22 says:

      Sadly this is true. Only way he goes to Robertson is if they’re tied or up by 1+. Hell, it’s on the road, so he probably won’t even use Soriano if the game is tied. Gotta wait for that lead! (that might not ever come!)

  2. Crosetti1932 says:

    Makes perfect sense…..that’s why it won’t happen.

  3. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Irrelevant. We’re going to clobber this punk.

  4. Thunder Road Runner says:

    Fully agree, unless the Yankees run up a huge lead (in one of my better dreams)only the starting pitchers should be held back.

  5. MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

    this becomes a non-issue if they touch Verlander for a few runs and Phil goes all Hughes on these guys.

    Jus sayin

  6. MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

    Also, Tim Kurkjian just sold out the Yankees. There is your motivation. fucking do this

    • jjyank (Phil Phucking Hugheslladay) says:

      What’d he say/do?

      • MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

        Let me put it this way. I am relatively sure he came here to get his narrative… “Reliable Sources” = Eddard World.

    • Knoxvillain says:

      I’m not sure what has happened to him lately. He used to be one of the only people I liked on ESPN. All of a sudden it’s like he hated the Yankees.

      Lost all my respect for him this year when he said Jeter shouldn’t have been an All-Star.

  7. A Fucking Twit says:

    Great post, and hopefully Girardi reads it. Those guys should ALL be ready to warm up at a moment’s notice. He should have the option of bringing someone in as soon as there is a hint of trouble.

  8. Eddard says:

    There’s no excuse to hold these guys back. Soriano has 0 untucks this postseason. Get Hughes, Robertson and Soriano a lead and they will not relinquish it. Ride CC tomorrow cradle to grave.

  9. Knoxvillain says:

    “For all intents and purposes,…”

    Thanks for not saying “intensive purposes.” Not as bad as “I could careless.” COULDN’T. COULDN’T CARLESS.

    Anyway, I think the Yankees won’t use Phelps for the rest of the ALCS unless they are down by ten runs or winning by ten runs.


    Everyone else is kind of a question mark. Logan has sucked. Rapada isn’t even of value. Lowe can give some innings but this isn’t 2004. Yankees have to win tonight. If they can’t win tonight, the season is over. Down 3-0 is a death sentence. I don’t care about the 2004 Red Sox.

  10. Fin says:

    Well at least if the Yankees get shutdown tonight, its because they are facing the best pitcher in baseball, not some run of the mill guy whos been shutting them down since the playoffs started. Its really hard to imagine a scenario where the Yankees get hot off Verlander. Seems Phil is going to have to go deep into the game with a shutout for the Yankees to have any chance. I could see a 0-0 tie going into the 7th, its not hard to imagine the Yankees getting shutout again tonight, or even no hit.

    • Robinson Tilapia (I Believe in Scoring Runs!) says:

      They may just wind up dead by the end of the night.

    • Austin Aunelowitzky says:

      “Its really hard to imagine a scenario where the Yankees get hot off Verlander.”

      That’s why we should expect. Yankees 9-3 tonight….and don’t lose again this year.

    • MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

      “I could see a 0-0 tie going into the 7th”

      like every other game this post season?

  11. Mister D says:

    I bet, someday in the future, there will be a standard clause in all pre-free agent pitchers’ contracts that give bonuses for appearances over a certain number.

  12. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    At this moment the only relievers that can be trusted are Robertson and Soriano. Logan has been less trusworthy and I believe it’s from overuse. Chamberlain, our future closer has not been so good either. Lowe only had one good battle with Cabrera and after that he has not been good. Surprisingly,Eppley and Rapada have been rather good.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Logan is now 2-2 in allowing inherited runners to score.
      Or as Greg would say, “Logan did nothing wrong.”

  13. MacDaddy Alex says:

    Mike: is this whole alex hitting on women thing going to be another distraction, or another chapter in ARODS life. In his defence, the sources are all “unidentified witnesses.”

    • Robinson Tilapia (or, for the purposes of this comment, "Mike") says:

      It’s going to be made a distraction, rightful or not. While I’m sure things like this happen every day, this is the social media age, shit gets out quick and, if it even happened, the narrative is going to be that he was more concerned as to getting some ass than producing offensively. Should we take that into consideration, as people in the public eye, before we act? I have no clue. I’m not rich or famous. Yet.

    • MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

      Breaking News: a professional athlete has reportedly hit on a couple of women who did not appear to have male accompaniment or Adams Apples. News at eleven.

    • Graig not Craig says:

      Someone should tell ARod that the women in LA and Miami are way hotter than NY. They are contract-voiding hot!!

      • Robinson Tilapia (I Believe in Scoring Runs!) says:

        As someone who spent 14 years living in Miami, 20 in the NY/NJ area, and a month in LA, i respectfully disagree.

        • Graig not Craig says:

          Shhhhhhh! You and I know that, but ARod doesn’t have to know.

          • Robinson Tilapia (Let's Complain About Something!) says:

            Alex got to see as much of Miami as I have. Trust me. Dude knows.

            I’d rather him decide to hang it up than some contract-voiding drama, neither of which are happening.

    • G says:

      Give the guy a break, he’s sucking right now and needs to relieve stress. If he gets laid, he goes on to hit .600 with 8 homers the rest of the way. /science

  14. Graig not Craig says:

    Girardi has yet to prove that he knows what it means to hold a game close. So what if the other team is up by two or three runs in the sixth? You’ve still got four innings to catch up and beat them. So give your team a chance to do that by putting your best pitchers on the mound. Its almost like he’s a little league coach who is afraid what Mr. Logan might think if his son only pitches to one lh batter, or what Mrs. Eppley might think if little Cody doesn’t get in the game. All of the rules (and the Trapper Keeper Binder) go out the window. The entire season might be in the balance tonight! Give your bats a chance to win it (should they ever wake up from their lumber slumber).

    This type of thinking, and the series would be 1-1 right now.

    • MannyGeee (RUN SUPPORT, BITCHES!!!!) says:

      What series have YOU been watching? every game has been close. Girardi can’t possibly keep a game closer than NO SCORE GOING INTO THE FUCKING NINTH!

      • Graig not Craig says:

        Here are the games I watched this series…

        Saturday night, the game is 2-0 Tigers with 2 outs in the seventh. Joe pulls Pettite and inserts Lowe vs. Miggy with a man on 1st. Lowe miraculously strikes out Miggy. Joe falls in love with Lowe. Keeps him in the game to start the eighth. After one out, Delmon homers and Jhonny doubles. Joe keenly removes Lowe and inserts Logan to face the lefty, Dirks. Dirks grounds out. Joe leaves Logan in against the righty, Garcia. Garcia singles home run #4. Where was Robertson? If Robertson comes in and gets Garcia, Raul’s homer in the ninth wins the game 4-3. Sori pitches a 13 pitch 10th. Why can’t he come out for the 11th? Robertson pitches a 19 pitch 11th. Why can’t he at least start the 12th? Instead, Phelps comes in and loses the game.

        Kuroda comes out after 7.2 innings on Sunday night, the game is 1-0. Joe goes to his studs. Logan, Chamberlain, Rapada, Eppley. The inning ends, and the score is 3-0. Where were Robertson and Soriano?

      • Graig not Craig says:

        And which game was 0-0 going into the ninth this series? I missed that one.

      • toad says:

        If Girardi is going to assume that the offense isn’t go to score, then I guess it doesn’t matter what he does. He might as well forfeit as soon as Detroit gets a run.

        But that’s obviously a stupid assumption. Down by one, or even two, late in the game at home I think the manager should handle the bullpen the way he would if his team were ahead, because he has to go on the assumption that they will score.

        I suppose he has to give some consideration to the possibility of extra innings, but even that assumes scoring.

  15. theyankeewarrior says:

    I wouldn’t hesitate to go to D-Rob with a one-run lead (in a jam) in the 5th. Say he gets us out of the 5th and 6th. Then match-up with Boone and Joba in the 7th and Sori gets 8 and 9.

  16. Marcy says:

    I was SO wrong re: Kuroda that I’m just hoping my negative feelings are as wrong as I was about Kuroda.

    How can this not be an all-hands-on deck bullpen game unless they’re down a significant number of runs?

    • Yank the Frank says:

      Because they will not be eliminated if they lose (or loose) tonight. Hughes vs. Verlander is a David vs Goliath story, that may not go as well. Tomorrow and evry game after is an all hands on deck.

  17. Hoss says:

    So A-Rod is being interviewed by a beat reporter this afternoon who asks him what his thoughts are about the Yankees’ situation and he responds “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The bad news is that Jeter’s hurt and he ain’t coming back. We’re not hitting and we can’t seem to make adjustments. The top-tier bullpen is tired and the rest is leaking. And the starters are getting upset that they’re carrying the whole load here.”
    The reporter asks him what the good news is. Alex responds “You see that beautiful blonde as you walked into the clubhouse? I’m fuckin’ her.”

  18. Marcy says:

    So they leave Hughes in as long as they can and then use Phelps saving the “A” group for the next night?

  19. Winter says:

    I really want to see D-Rob in the 5th inning if the game’s tied and Hughes is in a jam Not that that would ever happen.

  20. A Fucking Twit says:

    I could care less if the Yankees win tonight.

    A lot less.

  21. toad says:


    There’s nothing wrong with him pitching say, the 5th and 6th innings. If you have to use non-Soriano/non-Robertson relievers why not try to set things up so they face the bottom of the order, or at least are in lower leverage spots?

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.