Thoughts following the series in Baltimore

"Yeah Tex gave all his gluten to me this offseason." (Presswire)
“Yeah, Tex gave all his gluten to me this offseason.” (Presswire)

The Yankees just dropped their third straight series to start the season and I’m not sure what part of the team you could point to as an overwhelming positive in the early going. Well, aside from Alex Rodriguez, that is. Anyway, I have some thoughts not necessarily related to the series in Baltimore.

1. Hands down, the very worst thing about the Masahiro Tanaka situation is that we view everything through his elbow. He’s impossible to look at, think about, and analyze like a normal pitcher. Tanaka can never have just one of those days. Every bad pitch, every bad inning, everything will be viewed as a sign of impending doom. Throw fewer fastballs than normal? It’s the elbow. Hang a few sliders? It’s the elbow. That splitter didn’t get a swing and miss? Elbow. Elbow elbow elbow. I’ve gotten over sitting on the edge of my seat every pitch worrying Tanaka’s elbow will explode right before my eyes, but it’s always there, looming in the back of my mind. Even if he gets over whatever troubled him in his first two starts and begins dominating like he did early last year, the elbow injury means it’s going to be a long time until people look at him as a normal pitcher. Sometimes things happen in baseball and there’s no way to explain them. That’s what makes it fun. But with Tanaka, whenever something happens, it’ll be traced back to the elbow, fairly or unfairly. It feels like he is no longer subject to baseball’s randomness.

2. I was looking at the schedule the other day just to see what’s coming for the Yankees and you know what? There are no easy series anymore. There are more teams in contention now than ever before thanks to revenue sharing and the second wildcard, so the days of piling up, say, seven wins during a nine-game road trip through Minnesota, Cleveland, and Kansas City are over. Every team is good now. There is no soft spot of he schedule anymore. Know what I mean? Just looking at the upcoming schedule, the Yankees don’t play a team that is widely expected to be a non-contender until late-May, when the Rangers come to the Bronx for three games. After that you have to wait until the Phillies visit in late-June. Every series seems to mean something nowadays and don’t get me wrong, it’s fun and I think it’s great for baseball overall, but geez. There are no breaks. The Yankees could use one of those easy series right about now.

3. Thing I would like to see: the Yankees buying a draft pick. That’s basically what the Dodgers did last week. The full trade was reliever Ryan Webb, minor league catcher Brian Ward, and the 74th pick for reliever Ben Rowen and minor league catcher Chris O’Brien. Webb’s hurt and the point of the trade from the Orioles’ point of view was shedding his $2.75M salary. The two teams swapped fringe prospect catchers and the Dodgers also sent a minor league signee reliever to Baltimore. In a nutshell, the trade was “we’ll give you the 74th pick if you take Webb’s contract,” which the Dodgers did. (They released Webb a few days later.) If another club is out there willing to trade a draft pick to shed a small, unwanted contract — history says the O’s wouldn’t have made the deal with New York, for what it’s worth — it’s the type of move a team flush with cash like the Yankees should absolutely make, especially given the way everyone (Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, etc.) has been talking about the importance of young players lately. The 74th pick isn’t a premium pick or anything, but at the cost of a few million (Webb would have cost the Yankees $4.125M with the luxury tax), a big market club should take advantage, and the Dodgers did.

(Justin K. Aller/Getty)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty)

4. The Didi Gregorius/Shane Greene trade has played out to the worst case scenario for the Yankees so far. There’s really no way to argue otherwise at the moment. Out of all the moves they made this past offseason, this was the one they most needed to provide some positive early returns. Instead, Gregorius has been awful in every phase of the game while Greene has been dominant, allowing seven hits and one walk in 16 shutout innings across two starts. I expect Gregorius to be better (how could he be worse?) and Greene to not be as dominant (how could he sustain this?) going forward, but first impressions are damn near impossible to change, and the first impression of this trade is that it’s a disaster. I’m not saying it is a disaster! Just that that’s the impression many folks have right now and it’s hard to shake that. It’s still super early, the season isn’t even two weeks old yet, but geez, on top of all the other things going wrong with the Yankees in general, Greene’s domination isn’t helping matters.

5. One of the great unknowns in recent Yankees history — if not franchise history overall — is how things would have played out had Jennifer Steinbrenner and Steve Swindal not gotten divorced in 2007. Swindal was one of the team’s general partners — just like Hank and Hal Steinbrenner — from 1998-06 and was the heir apparent to George Steinbrenner. (It wasn’t just a rumor, Tyler Kepner reported the plan was to promote Swindal.) Swindal was far more active in the team’s day-to-day operations than either Hank or Hal — he negotiated Joe Torre’s contract in 2004 and represented the team at MLB’s press conference when it was announced Yankee Stadium was getting the 2008 All-Star Game — and by all accounts, he was a super smart guy and a promising future chairman. Instead, he and George’s daughter got divorced, his relationship with the team was dissolved, and the team was handed over to Hal, who showed little interest in running the Yankees before then. Who knows how things would have played out had Swindal taken over the team a few years ago as planned. Maybe it would be better, maybe it would be worse. We’ll never know.

Bullpen melts down, Yanks drop third straight series with 7-5 loss to O’s

Well, so much for that first series win of 2015. The Yankees, who have looked like the better team in exactly one of their nine games, dropped the rubber game 7-5 to the Orioles on Wednesday night. They’ve lost their first three series of the season for the first time since 1991. Not a good year to be associated with!

(Mitchell Layton/Getty)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty)

Bullpen Meltdown
By and large, the bullpen has been really good in the early going this season. The relief crew went into Wednesday night’s game with a 1.73 ERA (3.80 FIP) in an MLB high 36.1 innings, which is partly due to the 19-inning game and partly due to the starters basically never completing six innings. The bullpen was supposed to be a strength and it was up until this game.

The Yankees handed the bullpen a one-run lead to start the sixth, and the lead was gone within two pitches and the game was out of hand within 16 pitches. David Carpenter served up a solo homer to Jonathan Schoop (of course it was Schoop) and a soft single to Alejandro De Aza to start the inning before the Orioles gifted him an out with a sac bunt, pushing the go-ahead run into scoring position.

Joe Girardi wisely intentionally walked Adam Jones and went to lefty Justin Wilson to face Travis Snider, who was lifted for pinch-hitter Delmon Young. Young, who always seems to kill the Yankees, pulled a dinky little ground ball through the left side — it wasn’t even a bad pitch, it was on his shoestrings — to score De Aza and give the Birds a 4-3 lead. The beast formerly known as Chris Davis slapped a two-run double into left-center to make it 6-3. Four runs in the span of 16 pitches, including the intentional walk.

Caleb Joseph (Caleb Joseph!) capped off a 3-for-4 night with a single against Chris Martin to score Davis and make it a 7-3 game. The bullpen has been a weapon for the most part this season, but three relievers combined to allow five runs on five hits and one intentional walk in that sixth inning, turning a one-run lead into a four-run deficit. For these Yankees to have any chance of contending, the bullpen needs to turn those one-run leads into wins regardless of whether they’re asked to get three outs or 12 outs. That’s just the way the team was built.

Three Early, Two Late
Some two-out singles gave the Orioles a quick 1-0 lead in the first, though the Yankees rallied in the second and third innings to take a 3-1 lead. They scored their first run with a two-out rally — Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, Chase Headley walked, and Zombie Carlos Beltran rose from the dead to hit a two-run double off the very top of the right field wall. It was maybe six inches from being a three-run homer. Best ball Beltran has hit all year, hands down.

The third run came on a vintage Alex Rodriguez moonshot. Bud Norris made the mistake of throwing Alex a 2-0 fastball and A-Rod unloaded. It was a no doubter off the bat and it cleared the first section of seats in left field. Watch the video above. That’s peak A-Rod silliness right there. That poor pitch didn’t stand a chance. The homer gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead … then ten of the next 13 men they sent to the plate made outs.

To their credit, the Yankees made a run late on Baltimore’s bullpen, scoring a pair of runs in the eighth against Tommy Hunter. It would have been more had Jones not made a great running catch to rob Brian McCann of a double. The would-be double was instead a sac fly, then Mark Teixeira scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-5. A Chris Young double and an Ellsbury walk — he worked an 0-2 count into a walk — put the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth, but Headley grounded out to second for the 27th out.

(Mitchell Layton/Getty)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty)

Nasty Nate And The Nine Strikeouts
After getting one strikeout and four swings and misses in his first start of the season last week, Nathan Eovaldi struck out nine Orioles — one shy of his career high — and generated 15 swings and misses in five innings Wednesday night. He threw 101 pitches and six of those nine strikeouts came on sliders. Eovaldi seemed much more comfortable with his breaking ball in this start than he did his last.

Of course, 101 pitches in five innings isn’t all good, and Eovaldi didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning. He stranded runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, and fifth innings, including the bases loaded in the fourth. The nine strikeouts are nice, but Eovaldi allowed eight hits and three walks in five innings and that’s not very good! He’s had a history of being hittable — to be fair, the entire rotation has been hittable this year — and we’ve gotten a firsthand look at it these first two starts. Eovaldi looked really good at times. It’ll be nice if he can do it most of the time going forward.

Changeup!? (Presswire)
Changeup!? (Presswire)

Branden Pinder made his big league debut in the eighth and allowed a booming triple to De Aza, then got bailed out when Everth Cabrera popped up a suicide squeeze attempt for a double play. Pinder managed to allow a hit and record three outs on four total pitches. Dellin Betances chucked the eighth and struck out two while allowing a hit. He looked better than he has — ten of his 14 pitches were breaking balls — but still isn’t all the way back to 2014 Dellin.

Every starter aside from McCann and Stephen Drew had a hit, and McCann would have had a hit if not for that great play by Jones. Didi Gregorius has a two-game hit streak going — hey, he’ll take it! — and nearly made a nice play ranging to his left to snare a hard-hit grounder, but he couldn’t make the transfer. They initially ruled it an error but changed it to a hit, and good. That play was far from routine.

I’m not normally one to complain about the strike zone, but home plate umpire Sean Barber’s zone in this game was … oddly shaped. Let’s put it that way. Here are the PitchFX plots. Erik Boland says Barber is a fill-in ump from Triple-A, which I guess explains it. Lots of weird calls for both sides.

The Yankees have scored the first run in two of nine games this year. They’re trailing every time you look up, it seems. Playing from behind all the time is no way to go through life.

And finally, the homer was the 656th of A-Rod’s career. Four more until he ties Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here is the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees have an off-day Thursday then will head to Tampa, their home away from home. They open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday night. Adam Warren and Nate Karns are the scheduled starters.

DotF: Flores goes deep twice in Scranton’s loss

RHP Wilking Rodriguez has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for furosemide, MLB announced. It’s basically a water pill. Rodriguez was in big league camp this year but he barely pitched, and he started the minor league season in Extended Spring Training.

Triple-A Scranton (11-6 loss to Rochester)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
  • LF Ramon Flores: 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — threw a runner out at the plate … the odds Flores could help the Yankees in a platoon role more than the current version of Carlos Beltran has to be pretty decent, right?
  • DH Tyler Austin: 0-4, 1 BB, 4 K — no contact day
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Jaron Long: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 8/2 GB/FB — 61 of 85 pitches were strikes (72%) … Triple-A hitters haven’t been fooled as much as Single-A and Double-A hitters so far
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 30 of 44 pitches were strikes (68%) … first outing since the marathon 19-inning game
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 22 of 40 pitches were strikes (55%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eight strikes, eleven pitches

[Read more…]

Game Nine: Eovaldi For The Series Win

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yankees tried and failed to win their first series of 2015 last night, but they have another chance in the rubber game against the Orioles tonight. The last time the Yankees lost three straight series to start the season was that awful 1991 season, when they didn’t win their first series of the year until mid-May. I feel like we’ve said “this is the first time the Yankees have done that since 1991″ an awful lot the last few years.

Anyway, Nathan Eovaldi will be on the mound tonight, making his second start in pinstripes. The first was uneven — Eovaldi showed a big fastball and promising offspeed pitches, but struggled to put hitters away. Then again, everyone’s struggled to put the Red Sox away this year it seems. Hopefully the free swinging O’s have a tougher time with Eovaldi tonight. Here’s the starting lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. DH Alex Rodriguez
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. LF Chris Young
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The Orioles are sending right-hander Bud Norris to the mound. He got clobbered in his first start of the season by the Rays, allowing eight runs in three innings. Here is Baltimore’s lineup.

There’s no threat of rain at Camden Yards like last night. It’s cool and cloudy without only a slight breeze. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Brett Gardner (wrist) told Chad Jennings he feels “much better today” and expects to return to the lineup Friday. He is available pinch-run and play defense tonight … Joe Girardi told reporters both Chris Capuano (quad) and Ivan Nova (elbow) are progressing well in their rehab. Capuano could be back within a month.

Roster Moves: The Yankees have called up RHP Branden Pinder for tonight’s game, the team announced. RHP Joel De La Cruz was optioned to Double-A Trenton to clear a roster spot. Also, RHP Kyle Davies was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton after being designated for assignment the other day.

Dellin Betances projected to fall short of Super Two cutoff, Didi Gregorius will qualify


According to Ryan Galla at CAA Sports, the projected Super Two cutoff this coming season is two years and 140 days of service time, which is more commonly written as 2.140. Players who qualify as Super Twos go through arbitration four times instead of the usual three. The cutoff is set at the top 22% of players with 2-3 years of service time and won’t be officially set until after the season. Galla’s projections have pretty spot on over the years.

The projected cutoff means Dellin Betances will fall well short of Super Two status following the season. He came into the season with 1.078 years of service time and, assuming his spotty command doesn’t land him in Triple-A at some point this summer, he’ll finish the season at 2.078. He’s more than two months short of qualifying, so even if Galla’s projection is off considerably, Betances still figures to be a non-Super Two player.

Assuming Dellin finds his mojo and starts dominating again — not a guarantee but let’s roll with it — his arbitration salaries figure to be higher than David Robertson‘s because of the co-closer system. Saves pay, even just a few of them. Robertson earned $1.6M, $3.1M, and $5.125M in his three arbitration years as a setup man. Dellin’s arbitration salaries could instead be along the lines of on again, off again closer (and ex-Yank) Mark Melancon‘s, who made $2.595M in his first year of arbitration and $5.4M in his second. (Next year will be his third.)

Now, if Betances were to take over the closer’s job outright, his arbitration salaries would skyrocket. Kenley Jansen made $4.3M and $7.425M during his first two years of arbitration, for example. The Yankees could look into signing Dellin to a long-term contract extension, but I think the unexpected return of pre-2014 Betances this year is enough to scare everything into waiting a little while longer. He’s a major boom or bust guy — Dellin could dominate and make Craig Kimbrel money or flame out faster than Derrick Turnbow.


The projected Super Two cutoff also means Didi Gregorius will qualify as a Super Two by a handful of days — he came into the season with 1.159 years of service time and will finish at 2.159. He’ll qualify by less than three weeks. Gregorius won’t command huge arbitration salaries but being a defense first middle infielder pays more than you think. Similar players like Darwin Barney and Zack Cozart made $2.3M or so in their first years of arbitration, though they weren’t Super Twos. Gregorius might come in a bit under that this offseason.

It’s easy to say this now given his slow start to the season, but even if he was tearing the cover off the ball these last ten days, I still think the Yankees would be better off letting Gregorius play out his arbitration years rather than look to sign him to an extension. The Yankees will be able to afford to pay him whatever arbitration requires, and the risk that he doesn’t hit enough to keep a regular lineup spot is much greater than the risk of him breaking out offensively and commanding big bucks. Slow start or not, Didi’s a year-to-year guy for me.

Obviously the roster will change over the next few months, but right now the Yankees are looking at a decently sized arbitration class after the season. Gregorius, Adam Warren, and Justin Wilson will be eligible for the first time; David Carpenter, Michael Pineda, and Nathan Eovaldi will be eligible for the second time; and Esmil Rogers and Ivan Nova will be eligible for the third time. Pineda and possibly Eovaldi are extension candidates and right now Rogers looks like the only non-tender candidate.

2015 Draft: Opening Thoughts

2015 Draft logoThe 2015 amateur draft will be held from June 8-10 this year, so roughly eight weeks from now. The Yankees hold two of the top 30 picks — Nos. 16 and 30 overall with the latter being the compensation pick for David Robertson — for the first time since 1978. They also haven’t picked as high as 16th overall since 1993.

The draft is always important, that goes without saying, though I think it is extra important for the Yankees this year for a two reasons in particular. One, the team’s international spending will be restricted during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods, so they won’t be able to spend wildly and get top talent that way. Two, the Yankees don’t have any extra picks coming their way for a little while. No one on the roster due to hit free agency after this season or next figures to be worth the qualifying offer.

Our draft coverage here at RAB is going to essentially going to be the same as the last few years. Hey, if it’s not broke, why fix it? Over the next few weeks I’ll write up a bunch of short profiles of individual draft picks the Yankees may target this year. Some of them will be personal favorites but for the most part I’ll look at players who fit New York’s recent draft tendencies. These days that seems to be polished pitchers and power hitters, generally college guys with success in the wood bat Cape Cod League.

Obviously a lot of this is guesswork, though I have hit the nail on the head a few times over the years. I wrote up a pre-draft profile for LHP Jacob Lindgren last year, and two years ago I wrote up profiles for all three of OF Aaron Judge, 3B Eric Jagielo, and LHP Ian Clarkin. Way back in the day I wrote up Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, and Dellin Betances as possible draft targets. So either I’m really lucky or I’m better at this than I realize.

The pre-draft profiles for the 2015 draft will start … soon. I don’t have a set date in mind just yet but it’ll be soon. A few days or so. Until then, here are some miscellaneous thoughts to kick off this year’s draft coverage.

Large Bonus Pool Gives Yankees Flexibility

As mentioned yesterday, the Yankees have the sixth largest draft bonus pool this year at $7.885M. Four of the five teams ahead of them hold the top four picks, and the other is the Braves, who have a bunch of extra draft picks. Aside from Atlanta, which picks two spots before the Yankees in both the first and supplemental first rounds, no team is better positioned to pay a top talent big bucks in the middle of the first round or in the sandwich round.

The question isn’t can the Yankees afford a top talent, but will there be a top talent available? These days the only players who tend to fall below their projected draft spot are injured players or good but not great high schoolers with exorbitant bonus demands. I think New York’s best shot at a top draft talent this year is either the injured Brady Aiken or Mike Matuella. I don’t see any top high school prospects falling into their laps in the first round. That doesn’t happen anymore under the new system. The large bonus pool gives the team the flexibility to pay one player big or several players slightly less big, and the latter seems more likely.

Injuries Wreaking Havoc On Top Prospects

It’s not only Aiken and Matuella who have gotten injured so far this spring. California HS LHP Kolby Allard, a projected top ten pick, suffered a back injury a month ago and won’t return until mid-to-late-May at the earliest, according to J.J. Cooper and Keith Law. Scouts won’t have much of an opportunity see him this spring. Something like this could send Allard to college — no team may decide he’s worth the risk high in the draft.

It doesn’t stop there either! Boston College 1B Chris Shaw and South Carolina HS OF Kep Brown bother suffered significant injuries last week, reports Hudson Belinsky. Shaw broke the hamate bone in his right hand and won’t return until late-May, right before the draft. Brown tore his Achilles tendon and will be out at least six months. Shaw was considered a fringe first rounder and Brown a second rounder coming into the spring.

A handful of draft prospects get hurt every year, that’s just baseball, but this spring it seems there have been more devastating injuries to top talent than at any point in the last 10-15 years or so. And the more top guys get hurt, the fewer quality prospects there will be for the Yankees to draft.

Heavy On Re-Drafts?

Every year teams will draft a player(s) they selected in a previous year. Teams do this all the time. They draft players they’ve already drafted once before but were unable to sign for whatever reason. It makes sense, right? At one point they liked the player enough to call his name, so when he re-entered the draft a few years later, they take him again.

A trio of New York’s unsigned 2012 draft picks are among the top college performers this year: UCLA OF Ty Moore (25th round in 2012), Florida State OF D.J. Stewart (28th), and Miami 3B David Thompson (38th). The Yankees took all three out of high school as late-round fliers knowing they were unlikely to sign, and indeed all three followed through on their college commitments. Here are their 2015 stats through this past weekend:

  • Moore: .375/.458/.533 with eight doubles, three homers, 17 walks, and 12 strikeouts in 32 games.
  • Stewart: .306/.506/.595 with six doubles, nine homers, 41 walks, and 31 strikeouts in 37 games.
  • Thompson: .357/.462/.667 with six doubles, six homers, 15 walks, and seven strikeouts in 22 games.

Stewart is the best prospect of the three but not only because of the stats. He is among 60 players on the Golden Spikes Watch List (baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) and Baseball America (subs. req’d) and ranked Stewart as the 21st and 28th best prospect in the draft, respectively. Neither ranked Moore nor Thompson among the top 50 draft prospects. (Keith Law didn’t rank any of the three among his top 50 draft prospects.)

The Yankees clearly liked Moore, Stewart, and Thompson once upon a time and felt they were worthwhile late-round gambles. They didn’t just pick their names out of a hat. All three players will be draft-eligible again this year and could again be targets for New York, Stewart in particular as a left-handed hitting outfielder with that classic power and patience profile the Yankees have leaned on for decades.

Dellin Betances’ struggles shouldn’t end the co-closer experiment

(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

Although the 2015 season is barely more than a week old, it’s already clear Dellin Betances‘ rough Spring Training has carried over into the regular season. After pitching to a 5.40 ERA with six walks and nine strikeouts in 8.1 Grapefruit League innings, Dellin has walked six and allowed three hits against only three strikeouts in 3.1 innings across three appearances since the start of the season. Only 36 of his 81 pitches have been strikes (44%).

It appears Betances’ struggles are mechanical more than anything. His fastball is still humming in around the mid-90s and his breaking ball has its usual break, but he just has no idea where the ball is going. And considering Betances had no idea where the ball was going for most of his career prior to 2014, that’s sorta scary. Mechanical issues and a lack of command are hardly new for Dellin.

“Before (in the minor leagues) I was way off. Like, not even close. Now I feel a lot better. I’m right there. I’m missing right there, but you just have to have confidence in yourself. Keep going out there and battling,” said Betances to Chad Jennings after Monday’s game. “I’m right there. I know I’m right there. I just have to attack the hitters, be aggressive in the strike zone and keep making pitches.”

It’s good to hear Dellin feels he’s close to getting back to where he was — a positive attitude is underrated! — but Joe Girardi still had to make some mid-game adjustments Monday. Betances retired just two of six batters faced and Girardi had to go to Andrew Miller for the five-out save. After the game, the skipper told Jennings he was “trying to map it out (the late innings) but it never goes strictly according to plan. I had to rework it a little bit.”

We could take that as Girardi saying he’s lost at least some trust in Betances, and at this point I couldn’t blame him even though Dellin has only made three appearances. His spring issues have carried over into the regular season and these games count now. The Yankees can afford to give Betances more time to work through his issues, just not necessarily in high-leverage spots. Keeping him away from situations like Monday night — he inherited a two-on, one-out situation — wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

Thankfully, the Yankees still have one elite reliever to lean on in Miller. He could step right in and serve as the closer now and no one would blame Girardi one bit. Me? I don’t think Betances’ struggles should put an end to the co-closer experiment. I like the idea of matchup based high-leverage work even if Dellin isn’t the man for the job right now. Bullpen plans have a way of not going, well, according to plan.

Rather than roll with Miller and Betances as co-closers, I’d like to see Girardi go with Miller and David Carpenter for the time being. Carpenter is a competent late-inning reliever with experience and is a righty to complement Miller. He steps into the late-innings, Betances slides back into a lower leverage role until he rights the ship, and the co-closers plan remains in place. The personnel changes, the plan stays the same.

Girardi has been very rigid with his bullpen usage during his time in pinstripes — in addition to a set closer, he’s had a set eighth inning guy and even a set seventh inning guy at times. He’s shown some willingness to be flexible this year with the co-closers setup — he was talking about this even before Spring Training, remember — and I hope Dellin’s rough start to the season doesn’t end things. Everyone seems to be on board, both the coaches and the players, so the Yankees should follow through on the plan while adjusting roles to accommodate Betances’ early-season issues.