Bullpen To The Rescue

July 5, 2009 – 5:16 pm

The Mystery That Is JobaNYY 10, Toronto 8. Once again Joba Chamberlain did everything he could to convince the naysayers that he isn’t ready for prime time in the starting rotation. Handed a 4-0 lead after two, he quickly turned that in to an 8-4 deficit in his worst outing of the year — a mere 3.2 innings, giving up 8 R on 9 H including 2 home runs. Ugly to say the least. But the Yankee bullpen came to the rescue, and how — even with half the pen not available after having to cover for Wang’s short outing the previous game, they were still able to come up with 5.1 innings of shutout relief. Alfredo Aceves was near perfect, getting 5 Ks over 4 IP with just one hit allowed. The Yankees have now won the first three of this four-game series, and much of the credit has to go to the bullpen — they now have pitched 14 innings with just 1 ER.

To overcome an 8-4 deficit you also have to have lots of offensive help, and that came from the bats of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Hideki Matsui — who combined to go 10-for-14 with 9 RBIs. Matsui got the big home run to put the game back in play, and Jeter got the game winning homer. Jeter’s been hot pretty much all year, so nothing new there. But it was definitely nice to see Posada and Matsui starting to heat up again. As we suspected, Girardi finally moved Cano down in the order — even though A-Rod had the day off today, you figure that tomorrow it will be Posada and Matsui batting after A-Rod which should put an immediate stop to the pitching-around-Alex nonsense.

The big question mark coming out of the game though was clearly Chamberlain. Combined with Wang’s outing and injury, it just emphasizes the issues with the bottom of the starting rotation. You don’t need a whole lot of pitching in the last two slots, particularly with the way the offense and the bullpen are going — but you do need more than what they have been getting of late. That’s got to be priority one right now for Girardi and Cashman and crew.

Photo: Daily News

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