A Baseball Weblog

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Yankees' bullpen disaster

The Yankees' bullpen has had a horrible three days. Three late inning leads (some larger than others) have gone by the wayside, and two of the games have resulted in crushing losses. First, it was Sunday, when the Yankees had a 3-1 lead entering the 8th inning. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera changed that in one inning:
Chamberlain/Rivera: 1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K, -.753 WPA

The next day, it was Boone Logan and Chan Ho Park in the 6th and 8th innings respectively, as Chamberlain was unavailable for setup duty after his long outing the day before. This implosion was saved by some dramatic 9th inning home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Marcus Thames.
Logan/Park: 2+ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, -.517 WPA

And yesterday might have been the oddest situation. The Yankees had a 5-1 lead in the 8th --- not even a save situation. Chamberlain came in and gave up all four runs, and Rivera gave up two more in the ninth. They were hurt by some misplays by Monday's heroes, Rodriguez and Thames, but the end result is clearly still very ugly:
Chamberlain/Rivera: 2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, -.740 WPA

Put all of that together, throw in the few positive appearances by the relief corps (including a clutch 2 inning performance by David Robertson on Sunday), and you get an accumulated -1.75 WPA for the bullpen over the past three games. It's particularly shocking since two of the games were blown by the Yankees' best relievers, Rivera and Chamberlain. Obviously, this streak is not indicative of their talent, and they were undeniably hurt by poor defense in yesterday's game. However, it's clear that something has to get back on track.


  1. Do you think Chamberlain or Rivera is hurt?

  2. I'd really doubt it. Chamberlain was hitting his spots yesterday (perfectly placed fastball to strike out Wright looking) and got some nasty swings on the slider. Rivera's command is a little bit off, but I'm not too concerned about it yet. Also, the velocity's been there. We'll see how they progress over the next few days.