Yankees’ Pen Clamps Down

Over the past seven days the Yankees have played seven games and won six of them. Their hitting was good and there starting pitching very good, but I wanted to highlight the contribution of their bullpen. Seven games in seven days including two extra innings games can put a strain on a bullpen, they were no doubt aided by some fine starting pitching going deep into games, but the pen held up. Here is their line from the week.

23.2 IP, 22 K, 5 BB, 18 H, 3 R

Very good and they did it in some very high leverage innings:

August 7th–They give the ball to Phil Hughes in the middle 8th in a tied 0-0 game. The pen pitches 7.1 innings of scoreless ball and the Yankees win in the 15h.

August 9th–The Yankees have a one run lead going into the 8th when they turn the ball over to the pen. Phil Coke gives up two runs, but the offense gets him off the hook scoring 4 in the bottom of the eighth.

August 10th–The Yankees only loss of the week. After the 5th the Yankees are down by one and turn the ball over to Alfredo Aceves, who pitches 4 innings of shut out ball. The offense could not come up with anything over those 4 innings, but Aceves gave them a chance to win it.

August 11th–They go to the pen to start the 7th down up one. The offense scores 4 in the bottom of the 8th, so Mariano Rivera‘s run in the 9th is harmless.

August 12th–The bullpen gives five scoreless innings in a tied game and the Yankees win it in the 11th.

In those 5 games the Yankees went 4-1, and based on the scores when they turned to the bullpen (two tied, two down by one, one up by one) that could very easily have been 2-3. So the pen played a huge roll in those wins. Over just those seven games the bullpen racked up +1.64 WPA, a reflection of their performance in those high leverage situtations. This was the week when the Yankees really pulled away in the AL East, and they did it with a big contribution from what has not been, at times this year, the most confidence inspiring bullpen.

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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.

9 Responses to “Yankees’ Pen Clamps Down”

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  1. Tom B says:

    Phil Hughes has completely saved the yankees this year, giving us essentially what we were expecting from Bruney.
    25 games, 32.1ip, 20h, 7bb, 42k, 1.39era, .83whip
    Robertson is also starting to contribute in big ways.

    Now if Bruney gets back on track (which it looks like is already happening) the game is now 6 innings long.

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    • Tom B says:

      on a side note, is there a way to do positional splits (ie as starter, as reliever for a pitcher) like they have on baseball-reference?

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      • Dave Allen says:
        FanGraphs Supporting Member

        Not on the player page, but there is a way.

        At the top select ‘Teams’.

        Then ‘Individual Teams’.

        Then ‘Pitchers’.

        In the ‘Team’ field select the Yankees, or whichever team.

        At the right you can select ‘All’, ‘Starters’ or ‘Relievers.’ When you select starters it just gives you the stats for each pitcher as a starter and similarly for relievers. You can also choose to look at ‘standard’, ‘advanced’, ‘batted balls’,…

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    • Joel says:

      I know performance differs from relief work to starting, but Phil Hughes’ transformation has been tremendous, attacking the strike zone, showing off that pinpoint fastball control that made him a top-tier prospect, not being afraid of giving up the occasional hit and, most importantly, striking guys out while walking no one. Quite a marked difference from what he was last year, or even this year before the 9K game against Baltimore.

      Or maybe Joba and Phil switched places, seeing as Joba seems to be having the same problem Phil had last season, albeit with good enough stuff to get away with it.

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      • Tom B says:

        the biggest thing i noticed this year is that not only has his pitching matured, but he physically looks like a different person. like he aged 3 years in the offseason.

        the addition and dominance of his cutter is a huge help to him this year as well.

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  2. Tom Zig says:

    So much for the Yanks having an “awful” bullpen

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  3. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    The bullpen got better when the starters got better. Is that earth-shattering news?

    In April, the bullpen sucked, in large part because Wang didn’t get out of the 4th inning in any of his 1st 3 starts (getting knocked out in the 2nd inning of his 2nd start). That kind of overload would tax the best of bullpens.

    That said, the Yanks have fine tuned the BP. The biggest differnce from earlier in the year is that the relievers are, for the most part, throwing strikes.

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  4. Joe says:

    It certainly helped that the Yankees completed parted with several unproductive relievers who were on the opening day roster

    Jose Veras – gone
    Brett Tomko – gone
    Edwar Ramirez – rotting away in the minors
    Damaso Marte – on the “DL” (endlessly… presumably he is inflicted with the disease known as “can’t pitch” )

    so the pen didn’t just get better. it was completely overhauled. The bullpen really did objectively suck in April. If the Yankees deserve credit for anything this year, its for the ability to switch up their bullpen to find the right people for the job. Torre would probably have trusted Edwar and Veras to this very day…

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  5. Very nice thanks a sharing..

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