clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Yankee bullpen -- gasoline, meet match

In his unhappy game recap Wednesday evening, Travis posted some thoughts on the pecking order in the Yankee bullpen.

I will agree with Travis that the first 10 games have revealed some potential bullpen issues. I am going to disagree, slightly, with exactly what those issues are.

Let's go pitcher-by-pitcher in the 'pen, and I will give my thoughts on each. Before I do that, though, let me say I really, really hate this 13-man pitching staff idea. There is no way you should need that many pitchers, and it really cripples the bench. I hope the Yanks revert to 12 pitchers soon.

Now, back to the individual pitchers. I will leave Mariano Rivera and Brian Bruney out of this.

  • Jose Veras. Absolutely brutal Wednesday. Faced three hitters, walked the first one and gave up doubles to the next two. Why on Earth is this guy pitching with the game on the line? Yes, he throws the ball hard, but who cares? He has no clue where the ball is going. He scares me more than any pitcher in the entire bullpen, and I have no idea why Joe Girardi keeps putting him in important situations. I felt the same way about the guy last season, too. He has some dominant streaks, but he is not trustworthy.
  • Damaso Marte. Also brutal Wednesday (6 earned runs in one inning). Marte has great stuff, but seemingly not consistent command of it. I loved it when the Yankees got him from Pittsburgh last season, but he seems like the latest veteran lefty with a solid track record destined not to match his career numbers once he reaches the Bronx. 
  • Edwar Ramirez. OK, I am a huge Edwar fan. That said, this guy simply has to get some of the late-game opportunities that are going to Veras and Marte right now. I know he doesn't have the big arm, but his change is devastating and he at least throws the fastball for strikes. I think he is under-appreciated, and sometimes under-used by Girardi. I actually thought Wednesday began to unravel because Girardi hooked Edwar too quickly. He brought in Phil Coke, didn't have enough confidence to leave him in for more than one hitter, had to go to Veras and the game disintegrated.
  • Phil Coke. Travis says Coke should be the trusted left. Eventually, I hope that will be the case. Right now, he needs to do a lot more to prove he belongs in the role. Both times he has been given late-inning chances this season he has failed. Wednesday, he got one out and Girardi -- despite saying all spring he could use Coke for multiple innings -- could not get him out of the game fast enough. I hope Coke's impressive finish last season wasn't a mirage
  • David Robertson. Here is another guy who has to show me a lot more before he gets late-inning work in tight games. He pitched to an ERA of 5.40 last season, and two mop-up innings don't prove anything. It's easy to pitch in blow-out games, but not so easy in high-pressure situations. Again, though, if you hand him the ball instead of Veras I would not complain.
  • Jonathan Albaladejo. Girardi seems to regard this guy as his last man in the 'pen, the guy who generally only pitches when games are lost. Before getting hurt last season, and so far this season, he has pitched pretty well in his limited chances. I wonder if he can handle a little more responsibility, but I think he is probably in the role that suits him best -- just eating up a couple of innings whenever he is called upon.

Summary: I know it's early and I have been telling everyone else to come down off the bridge. So, I am certainly not climbing up there right now myself. Hopefully all of these guys will straighten out. I just know I never feel good when the Yankees put a game in the hands of Marte and Veras.