What’s gone right and what’s gone wrong in the bullpen has really been a matter of when you’re asking the question. Right now, Mariano Rivera fits the wrong category, but 10 days ago he was as good as any pitcher in baseball. Joba Chamberlain was great two weeks ago, bad last week, then great again on Friday.
What’s gone right?
More than you might think
During the most recent home stand, the Yankees bullpen seemed to be a complete mess, and the problems centered on Chamberlain and Rivera. But heading into the home stand, the relievers seemed to be a strong point for the Yankees, and they remain 23-0 when leading after eight innings.
Despite his recent outings, Rivera remains 8-for-9 in save situations with a 2.03 ERA that’s lower than his career ERA of 2.25. Opponents are hitting .170 against him, which would be the third lowest opponents batting average of his career.
Other bright spots: Chamberlain’s velocity has improved; Dave Robertson in the previous week; Sergio Mitre as a long man; Yankee debuts from Ivan Nova and Romulo Sanchez.
What’s gone wrong?
Frankly, this is true of almost every bullpen in baseball. Relievers as a whole are a hit-or-miss group, and the Yankees have been no different. Even Rivera has proven that he’s human.
The low point of the bullpen might be Chan Ho Park. He has the highest ERA on the team — other than Mark Melancon — and he’s allowed five home runs in six appearances. What seemed to be a good, low-cost pickup in spring training has become an unreliable middle reliever (although six games is hardly enough to pass a final judgment).
Other problem areas: Can’t ignore Rivera’s recent outings; Robertson has been knocked around more than once; Hard to know how often Aceves might go down with that sore back; Melancon and Boone Logan were clearly the top Triple-A relievers when the season started, but neither has done much to prove himself out of the New York bullpen.