The Yankees are in a bad Catch-22 situation right now, and it has to do with their pitching. Admittedly, there seems to be problems almost everywhere. But the recent injury to the closer Andrew Miller has enticed a lot of critics to come out with fingers pointing. The issue there is the reason for Miller’s strained forearm – fatigue. Is he being overused? Certainly Miller is not going to say yes. That would be a direct shot at his manager. Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman are being somewhat quiet on the issue too. Can you blame them?
I am certainly not going to defend them if they are overusing their best pitchers. It is their jobs to make sure that the players are in the best shape and position to win. Are they overusing them? Joel Sherman of the New York Post sure thinks so (read HERE). Sherman cites a number of games when the closer should not have had to come in. These are games where the Yankees had huge leads and the pitching started giving up runs in bunches. Games where the 1-2 punch of the back of the bullpen – Miller and Dellin Betances – should have been spectators. Instead, Girardi has to bring them in to save the game.
Joel Sherman thinks it’s a trust issue. He doesn’t trust the rest of his pitchers and ends up overusing Miller and Betances. No disrespect to Sherman, but I think we all have trust issues with some of these guys. Would you have trusted a game to David Carpenter? How about Esmil Rogers? Sure he could have rested the stars. But then all of us – reporters and fans alike – would have blasted Girardi for letting games get away while Miller and Betances are sitting out there in the bullpen. This is the part of Girardi’s job that sucks – sometimes you just can’t win. But fixing this is still his job.
For the record, there is a real reason to be concerned about overuse of these guys. If we look at the first 58 games of the Yankees season, Miller has appeared in 26 games, 15 (58%) of those with 1 day of rest or less. Contrast that with the first 58 games of Mariano Rivera’s final season, where he appeared 24 times and 11 (46%) of those with 1 day or less of rest. It may seem small, but when it comes to rest, it matters. Here’s some more food for thought. Miller has faced 103 batters and thrown 428 pitches – 17% more batters and 29% more pitches than Rivera did during the aforementioned span. The story gets worse with Betances compared to Rivera – 21% more games, 82% more times with 1 day’s rest or less, 39% more batters, and 29% more pitches. Maybe it’s because Betances is younger, but you have to be concerned.
The real problem with those two are the ones that come right before them. David Carpenter, Esmil Rogers, and others have not delivered as advertised, and have justified any possible distrust Girardi may have. Guys like Chasen Shreve, Chris Martin, and Justin Wilson need to step up. The Yankees may need to get some avaiulable pitchers, or bring guys up from the farm who can help. Here at BYB, we have talked a lot about how important it is to develop the kids. Now the Yankees may need to accelerate that plan. It will probably be a month before we see Miller again. Leaning even more on Betances could be disastrous. With the American League East still lacking a clear front-runner, the Yankees may have some cushion to try out a few options. No matter how you feel about Joe Girardi’s trust level, the team needs to give him some better options.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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