That was a rather sour finish to the homestand. To go from taking 3 of 4 from the Tigers and outpitching their rotation of studs in the process to dropping 2 of 3 to the Indians and scoring 1 run in the final 18 innings of the series was the highest highs right back to the lowest lows, another example of this team’s maddening inconsistency. The Yankees lost ground in the postseason races this past weekend and head into Baltimore for a crucial series needing at least a 2-1 series win to seriously stay in AL East title contention.
If there’s one positive thing to take away from the last 2 days, it’s this. The Yankees are heading into Baltimore tonight with the big guns in their bullpen well rested. The way the Cleveland series went down gave Joe the option of scaling back the usage of guys like David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Adam Warren and it was an option he took. D-Rob didn’t get worked all weekend. He hasn’t pitched since Thursday and has only thrown once more since last Monday. He’ll be good to go for all 3 of these games. Betances and Warren each last pitched on Friday night, with Betances only throwing 13 pitches in his 1 inning of work. They should both be very much available tonight and tomorrow at the minimum.
With Chris Capuano scheduled to start tonight and Michael Pineda tentatively scheduled to pitch Wednesday, length from the starting rotation looks like a potential problem again for this series. Counting on Shane Greene to repeat his last outing would be overly optimistic as well, so Joe is most likely going to look to shorten games if he gets a lead and put them in the hands of his best relievers. The rest he got them over the weekend should allow him to go with that plan for all 3 games or at least have it in play if the games are close.
There’s a scheduled off day on Thursday and another a week from today, so more rest is on the way. The starters still need to pitch well or well enough in however many innings they throw, and the offense needs to wake up and put a few runs on the board. If those things can happen to enough of a degree to get leads, the burden of turning them into wins is going to fall on the shoulders of the bullpen. Joe knows this, he knows his ‘pen aces are his team’s biggest strength, and he’s set himself up to play to that strength over the next 3 nights.