Performances out of a baseball team's bullpen can be contagious, as the Yankees pen proved last night. After Freddy Garcia created a jam in the fifth inning, relievers Eppley, Rapada, Chamberlain, Logan and Lowe combined to allow 4 runs on 7 hits, including 3 home runs, all leading to a 9-6 loss to the White Sox.
Eppley, Rapada and Logan have been great all season long. Lowe had an impressive debut last week against the Rangers. But Joba Chamberlain is still trying to find his effectiveness since he made his season debut a few weeks ago. His pen mates caught the Chamberlain Bug last night, as they looked as bad as he has looked in the few appearances he has made this season.
I can recall watching a game between the Yankees and Phillies in the late '90s. The Yankees held the lead and the decision was made to use the bullpen the rest of the way. Every pitcher that came out that pen gave up runs. At one point during the carnage, the network the game was being broadcast on (probably MSG) showed a shot of the Yankee bullpen. Every guy in there, including Mariano Rivera, looked miserable. Every single one of them looked as if he himself had blown the game. One of the announcers (I forget who) explained that members of a bullpen think of themselves as a second team.
So relievers are contagious and they are also guilty by association. With Ivan Nova pitching tonight that contagion and guilt needs to be stamped out and replaced with holds and a save.
* With Tampa Bay's win last night they moved one game closer to the Yankees in the AL East standings. It's been my opinion all year that the Yankees would win the division by less than 5 games. I wish I was wrong, but I'm not.
* Derek Jeter. Wow. He passes Nap Lajoie and ties Eddie Murray on the all-time hits list. He passes Craig Biggio on the runs scored list. He goes 4 for 5 with a home run. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that, not only will Derek Jeter be a first-ballot Hall Of Famer, but he will also be the first player to be voted in unanimously.
* Speaking of the Hall Of Fame, does Roger Clemens really think a comeback, resulting in his eligibility being pushed back will help him get in? I hope not. I don't want any steroid users, including Alex Rodriguez, in the Hall Of Fame.
* Michael Pineda was that drunk? His lights were off and he couldn't stay in the lane he was driving in. The Yankees haven't commented on the DUI, but that silence isn't a measure of how angry they are with Pineda, as I've read in the media. They probably don't have all the facts yet. They will comment when they do have them.