The Yankees' bullpen is living up to expectations so far

081313Yankees046RA.JPG It was no secret going into the season that the bullpen would be the biggest strength for the New York Yankees.

However, the bullpen has managed to even exceed high expectations so far. The Yankees bullpen is second in MLB in team ERA (1.86) and second in K/9 (9.84).

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances have not allowed a single run this season and the Yankees have not missed David Robertson yet at all, despite him getting off to an outstanding start with the White Sox. Robertson has been so good that his FIP - .82. I did not even know a minus FIP was possible honestly. I was critical of the decision not to bring Robertson back myself, but so far it certainly hasn't been an issue. Just think about how sick Robertson, Betances and Miller would be though.

Betances is back to his 2014 form after initially struggling with his mechanics at the beginning of the season. His 97-98 mph velocity has returned along with his knee buckling slurve that had Mets hitters looking childish last night. He has used that slurve 112 times compared to only 88 fastballs, which is interesting probably because he couldn't command his fastball earlier in the season.

Miller has been essentially perfect for the Yankees as the closer other than one wild outing in Detroit in which the home plate umpire wasn't helping his cause. That was the only scare for him so far this season. Control has always been an issue for him throughout his career, but as long as he can harness that there are no worries with him.

Like Betances, he has not allowed a run this year and has an obscene 17.28 K/9 ratio thus far. Miller's slider has been ridiculous with 28.77 percent whiff rate. Only the Kansas City Royals can match Betances and Miller in the final two innings when Greg Holland is healthy along with Wade Davis.

The rest of the bullpen has almost been as good for the Yankees. David Carpenter is coming off a 2.94 FIP and 9.89 K/9 season last year for Atlanta and did nothing to lose the 7th inning job this year, yet it appears he has lost it to Chris Martin. With Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve handling lefties in the middle innings it seems Carpenter is kind of buried for an important role at the moment. That's kind of insane for a reliever of his caliber who did nothing bad performance wise and it really goes to show just how great this bullpen is.

Martin and Shreve have both been revelations. Martin had a 2.90 xFIP last year pitching in Coors Field, so maybe we should have seen this coming a little, but he's been better than that even. He's gone from the last man picked in the bullpen to surpassing Carpenter as the seventh inning man. Shreve has been dominant posting a 1.17 ERA behind his fastball and slider combo.

The amazing part about this bullpen is that it was very good last year, yet only Betances is the only pitcher back from it. It was completely remade in one offsesaon behind brilliant work from Brian Cashman.

You felt very good when Joe Girardi took the ball early from Nathan Eovaldi last night to hand it over to Shreve and the rest of the bullpen. The pen did not allow a hit over 4 2/3 innings. With a tight AL East race this year winning close games will be crucial and the Yankees should have a big upper hand in that department this season.