An extensive number of articles have been written about the construction of the New York Yankees' bullpen leading into the season and in most of them, they've made mention of the appearance of the ternary of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman and how it would mean bad things for opposing batters. Yesterday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners, Yankee fans finally saw what two of the three ternary members are capable of when the Yankees' starter lasts through the seventh and has handed them a lead going into the eighth inning. To say it was incredible would almost be an understatement. It was wondrous, marvelous, amazing, otherworldly, and every other word you can think of to describe something that's genuinely awesome and immensely fun to watch. Here's how Miller has pitched so far this season. Granted it's a minuscule sample size, but it's still splendid:
Notice the strikes to balls ratio and how few balls have been in play. He has struck out 12 batters, hasn't walked a batter and has only given up two singles in five innings of work. Oh, and he hasn't given up a run.
Here's how Betances has pitched so far this season. Again, small sample size, blah blah blah. Just look:
Betances has had more appearances and has pitched a full inning more than Miller, but even so, his numbers are also quite impressive. He has struck out 15 batters, walked two and has given up three hits. Betances has three runs in his stat line, but they were unearned thanks to that error against Houston.
As I said in the intro, yesterday's game was fun because we finally got to see a starter make it through the seventh inning with a lead (Thanks for running Brett Gardner!) which set up an appearance for Betances and Miller alone—none of the middle relievers were needed. And what did they do yesterday? Oh, nothing, they just struck out the side in each inning in which they appeared.
Betances threw eight curveballs in the inning and threw five four-seam fastballs.
Here's how he mixed his pitches by velocity (from a low of 83.8 mph to a high of 99.1 mph):
Betances finished all three of his at bats with his curveball.
Honestly, how the heck is anyone supposed to hit that?
As you can see from the video, Miller had his slider working. It was really sliding and when it does that, it's impossible to hit or in some cases, even swing.
When you have an out pitch like that, you use it for strike three and yesterday it worked every time.
Here's how Miller mixed his pitches by velocity (from a low of 83.8 mph to a high of 98.2 mph):
Again, when these guys are on, it's impossible to do anything against them.
I mentioned the following numbers in yesterday's recap, but it bears repeating: In their last nine innings, Betances and Miller have not given up an earned run, have only allowed two hits, they have not surrendered a walk and they have struck out 23 batters. They have a 22.5 and 21.6 K/9 for the season, so far, respectively.
And here's a bonus fun fact that was blasted all over Twitter after yesterday's win: Of the 33 outs recorded by Betances and Miller this year, 27 of them have been strikeouts.
So yes, it's very early, and yes, we are still awaiting Aroldis Chapman's arrival, but yesterday, the eighth and ninth innings were a lot of fun to watch and let's hope that they were a sign of good things to come.
[Heat maps, charts, and numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info and Brooks Baseball]