SEATTLE – Joe Girardi can finally relax: the New York Yankees bullpen is back to being lethal again. After blowing 18 games to begin this season, general manager Brian Cashman knew the Yankees needed help in the bullpen so he acquired Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the Chicago White Sox – and they are already paying dividends.
After Aaron Judge launched his league leading 31st home run of the season to the last row in Safeco Field, it was time for the Yankees’ bullpen to go to work with the team up 5-1 over the Seattle Mariners. CC Sabathia provided five quality innings for the Yankees but issued a walk to start the sixth inning, forcing Girardi to put Kahnle in his first real trouble as a Yankee.
THE Judge HR that you will talk about for a lonnnnnng time.
The pressure did not faze Kahnle as he pitched a scoreless inning in relief and struck out Mitch Haniger looking on a 97 MPH fastball at the knees. Following Kahnle’s scoreless sixth, Robertson came on in the seventh and struck out the side. Robertson’s use of the knuckle-curveball proved to be effective as two of the three batters he set down came on that pitch.
Kanhle and Robertson make the Yankees’ bullpen arguably the most deadly in all of baseball. Their ability to lock down the sixth and seventh innings takes a lot of strain off of Dellin Betances, Chad Green and Adam Warren to continuously pitch those innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen now has two pitchers that can be relied on to get outs when necessary on a night in and night out basis. Prior to their acquisition, Tyler Clippard was forced to pitch high leverage situations and the Yankees never knew what they were going to get from him.
Going forward, consistency and quality are two things the bullpen will never lack.