After yesterday’s frustrating home opener loss, I’m sure that mobs are ready to storm off and kidnap Jose Veras and Demaso Marte from their homes. And maybe they should. And maybe I’ll help.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not particularly reactionary. CC Sabathia will be fine. To be honest, I’m impressed he was able to throw 5 2/3 innings of 1 run ball when he clearly had no control. Look at his April numbers in his career. He has control problems in April. The best is yet to come.
However, when it comes to the bullpen, really riding the hot hand is the way to go. These guys all will have bad days; that’s why they are bullpen pieces and not starters. But the Yankees have a lot of guys to choose from, so I expect that there will be plenty of changes as the year progresses. Mark Melancon will pitch. Robertson will get his chance. Actually, I’m surprised Robertson has already been sent back down after yesterday’s performance.
If Jose Veras can’t throw strikes, he’ll be back in Triple-A (and maybe he should be already). If Marte continues to struggle, he’ll become a “one lefty” guy.
Marte is of greatest concern, because he’s actually signed to a big league contract. The Yankees have rightly decided to just let young arms fill out the bullpen because relief help is so volatile. Well, breaking that rule with Marte is haunting them a bit now, but at the same time, Marte is one of the few pitchers who actually does have a pretty consistent track record. Even if it’s in a reduced role, he’s a good bet to provide some value before this year is over. Does that mean his contract, in this market, was a good one? Probably not. But point is, he will produce.
Veras on the other hand? Who knows. He doesn’t have a track record and if you told me that by the end of the year he would be done with the Yankees, it wouldn’t be shocking.
A little of the blame I think does need to be sent Girardi’s way. I really liked his bullpen management last year, but this year it seems like he’s gotten cocky. He insists on making as many switches as possible, which increases the odds of bringing in a reliever who “doesn’t have it.” Unless the matchup is really bad, if your reliever on the mound is well rested enough and pitching well, you should probably leave him in. As I’ve said, relievers are unknown quanitities. You want to limit the ways that can hurt you as much as possible. If Girardi wasn’t so “matchup-happy,” the Yanks probably have one more win right now (Sunday against the Royals).
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Bruney has obviously thrown extremely well. Coke showed some flashes. The lineup and the rotation need very little tinkering. If everyone is healthy, you know who is playing. The bullpen will likely end up being Girardi’s most important task and right now he might be overthinking it.