The first half is officially over, and there is a lot to be happy about. One thing not to be happy about - the bullpen.
Baseball Reference put up some numbers to show just how bad Joba Chamberlain has been this season. They only considered relievers with 30+ innings, but both David Robertson and Chan Ho Park have both been about as bad and only missed the cutoff by a few innings.
The truth is, the Yankees bullpen has just been flat out goofy this season. Nobody's actual ERA is anywhere near their FIP, but more importantly, the underlying performances - K/BB rates, etc. - suggest that the team's three worst relievers probably aren't as bad as they appear.
Joba has an awful ERA, and he's blown a few games in key spots. At the same time, compared to last season his strikeout and groundball rates and velocity are all up, and his walk, home run, and hit batter rates are way down.
Is he a fundamentally worse pitcher this season? If you're not willing to acknowledge that pitchers sometimes put up poor results (a.k.a. "bad luck") even though their underlying stuff is solid, I'm not sure what other conclusion you can draw. Maybe he lacks clutchiness?
- Ty Kepner points out that it ain't over 'til it's over. As much as I would have liked to see Cliff Lee in pinstripes, we have to remember that Twitter and Google do not constitute binding player transactions. Sometimes deals fall just short, and, unfortunately, sometimes a smart GM will try to involve another team to start a bidding war. You can't cry foul though; David Wells was supposed to pitch for the Diamondbacks in 2002, but somehow, that didn't happen.
- Lohud has a nice collection of quotes about Bob Sheppard from various Yankee figures.