If Tuesday’s win wasn’t the ugliest win this season for the New York Yankees, it’s definitely in the competition.
In his post-game interview on the YES Network, David Robertson said, "I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now." Robertson gave up two ninth inning runs and still managed to get the save. It's easy to believe his fellow relievers felt the same way.
Given their workload, it was inevitable that the Yankees bullpen was going to struggle at some point in the second half of the season. Heading into Tuesday’s game Yankees relievers had thrown the sixth most innings of any bullpen in the American League and had two pitchers, Dellin Betances and Adam Warren, in the top ten of innings pitched for relievers. Not coincidentally those are the same two pitchers who combined to turn a 10-4 laugher into a 10-8 ball game in the bottom of the seventh inning as Warren loaded them up and Betances let J.P. Arencibia unload them on one pitch.
It was painful to watch. For Joe Girardi, who has a reputation as a fantastic bullpen manager, it must have been doubly so. Despite his calm appearance whenever the cameras panned to him he must have been frustrated. Giardi told YES that he believed his bullpen would be fine down the stretch, but he acknowledged that he is a bit worried about fatigue.
He knows the importance of winning games at this point in the season, which is why he went to Betances in the first place, but also knows that the Yankees relievers need rest. It’s not something he’s been able to do with his rotation giving him at most 6 innings on most nights. Up until recently, however, it hasn’t come back to haunt them too much. It did on Sunday and it nearly did on Tuesday night but, for a change, it was the Yankees offense that bailed out the pitching instead of the other way around.
If the Yankees can take any positives from last night’s game it’s that maybe the cathartic release of scoring six runs in one inning and double digit runs in a game could be just what the Yankees offense need. Maybe now they’ll remember just how much fun these types of games are for the scoring team and maybe they’ll do it more often. The Yankees pitching can only hope so.