What was the backbone of the team the entire season has quickly become a major weakness. Due to some highly ineffective performances and injuries, the bullpen is now a complete disaster, and last night's 12-8 loss proved just that. With an 8-3 lead and only (only?) nine more outs to pick up for what would have been a very big win, the 'pen melted down once again, leading to yet another horrible loss.
After Andy Pettitte departed (which was absolutely the right move, by the way. The guy is 41 years old and was at 100 pitches through six innings, he was done), the avalanche began. It started with Phil Hughes, who I lobbied to be used as a short, one inning reliever. The thought was he'd come in, throw gas, and use his curve or slider to blow past opposing batters, 2009-style, but lolnope. Hughes allowed four of the five men he faced to reach base with the fastball around his regular 92-93 mph range. Enter Boone Logan, who struck out David Ortiz to record the second out of the inning with the lead still intact before allowing a grand slam to Mike Napoli to tie it at eight. When the bullpen was healthy and effective, there was no way Joe Girardi would let Logan pitch in that spot, but the skipper had no other options. Logan was all he had and he failed.
At this point the loss seemed imminent. Preston Claiborne, who got tattooed on Thursday, and has really gotten knocked around since the middle of June (24 appearances, 5.47 ERA, .817 OPS against), gave up the go-ahead two-run home run to Shane Victorino. After that, Joba Chamberlain came in and predictably sucked, as he allowed a run and three walks. Seriously, why the hell is he still on this team? Just admit he didn't work out like you had hoped and move on. This is so stupid.
It got so ugly that the Yankees turned to Matt Daley in the ninth. They called him up before the game, and he was the only reliever to not completely crap on himself. This is a guy who had only appeared in seven Major League games the past three years, with all of them coming in 2011. This is really what it's come to.
Someone who we didn't see last night out of the bullpen was Dellin Betances, which really tells you how far he is in the bullpen pecking order. Hughes, Joba, and Daley, who are all very bad/unknowns, came in ahead of him, and I think this is something that needs to change. David Robertson will be out five-six days as he's dealing with shoulder tendinitis. I know it's not anything structural, but this is something the Yankees should be very cautious with. He'll in all likelihood be your closer next year and you have to make sure he's 100% before returning. Also, Boone Logan had to get an MRI and it remains to be seen how long he will be out, and Shawn Kelley may be back on Sunday at the earliest.
The Yankees really have no one better right now and Betances is someone who has a chance to make the 2014 bullpen. He has the stuff to become a late-inning reliever and deserves a look. As you know, Dellin has dominated since becoming a reliever (61.1 innings, 1.91 ERA, 3.1 K/BB in Triple-A) in early-May. Joe Girardi even said there's an opportunity for "some of these guys to shine." Whether that be Joba and Hughes, who are horrible; Matt Daley, who doesn't figure to have much of a future with this organization, or someone like Betances, remains to be seen. Just two days ago, I wrote that Dellin wouldn't be more than just a mop up man this month, but that idea needs to be thrown out the window. The Yankees should seriously consider giving their once top starting pitching prospect, now potential shutdown reliever, a chance to pitch in some high-leverage innings out of the bullpen and see what they have right now and in the future.
More from Pinstriped Bible:
- Yankees Injuries: David Robertson shut down, Boone Logan to have MRI
- Yankees call up Matt Daley, place Corban Joseph on the 60-day disabled list
- Robinson Cano is mashing lefties once again
- Yankees injury updates: Pineda, Phelps, Almonte, Youkilis, Hafner
- GIFs of the Week: Posing A-Rod, Nunez vs. acid, and Joba-induced sadness