One of the biggest problem areas for the Yankees during this brutal two-week stretch has been the bullpen. The Yankees are 3-10 after last night’s laugher turned nail biter. In one of those victories, the offense bailed out a blown save. In the other two, the bullpen still coughed up several runs. Few pitchers in the bullpen have pitched well in the last two weeks. The team ERA including starters over the last 14 days sits at a 5.06.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening with some of these relief pitchers.
Since coming back from the DL Chapman has pitched 4.2 innings with a save (last night) and an ER (also last night). While those numbers seem fine, it doesn’t tell the whole story. He gave up the go-ahead run against Texas on June 23 in odd fashion before getting some help from the offense in a walk-off.
Chapman came on in the 9th and gave up a one-out hit to Elvis Andrus and then promptly hit Nomar Mazara. From there Elvis Andrus stole third base and then scored on a passed ball. Last night he gave up a single and an RBI double before getting the save. Watching the game last night, hitters seemed to be on top of his fastball, no matter how fast he was throwing. There were few swings and misses. It’s a safe bet to assume Chapman will be alright, and he is working back from injury but his last few games aren’t a trend you want to see repeated.
Betances has struggled over the last two weeks, posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.71 WHIP across 4.2 innings. Part of the problem is he’s probably not getting enough opportunities with the Yankees always down or another member of the bullpen already blowing a lead (which is why Girardi should be using Betances in more flexible situations than just the 8th). His main hiccup came on June 22 against the Angels where with men on base, he gave up the go-ahead runs. Chalk these stats up to inconsistent opportunities as his season totals are still elite and his strikeout numbers continue to impress. His K/9 ratio through the last 2 weeks is still a filthy 17.36.
There’s not much to say about Clippard that fans don’t already know. You might be wondering why Girardi would continue to stick with Clippard and the answer might be that nobody else has really stepped up. That could be changing (see below). Over the last two weeks in just 3.2 innings he’s given up a whopping 11ER and is sporting a 27.00 ERA, 3.82 WHIP, and fairly low 7.36 K/9. Clippard has done nothing right recently, even giving up runs in low-leverage situations. His current state is described best by Yankee Stadium and Girardi strategically waiting for Chapman’s air horn siren to play in order to drown out the boos as he left the mound.
The lefty Shreve has given up 5ER over 4.1IP with a 10.38 ERA and 2.08 WHIP. Shreve tends to go through ups and downs. Last night, in what should have been an easy win, Shreve gave up a three-run HR to force Chapman into the game. He’s been OK in most outings outside of that, usually just seeing a batter or two as a specialist.
The middle reliever with an opportunity to take Clippard’s job has thus far failed to prove he’s capable of it. Holder has given up 5ER across 6.2IP to sport a 6.75 ERA and 2.10 WHIP. His 9.45K/9 is pretty solid but he’s given up runs in three of his last four appearances. No reliever can survive on a WHIP over 2.00, and he probably won’t remain up long if he can’t correct it.
The bright spot! Green has pitched well through the team’s slump. He sports a 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 9.00K/9 over the last two weeks. Green pitched especially well on June 25, giving up just one hit with two K across two innings and keeping the team in the game as they tried to crawl back from Michael Pineda‘s early deficit.
The other bright spot! German has pitched well since arriving in the Bronx. He’s given up just one earned run across six IP and sports a tasty 13.50K/9. He hasn’t had a ton of action yet, but he could become an important piece of the bullpen moving forward.