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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.