Implosion is too harsh of a word for a bullpen meltdown that resulted in a New York Yankees loss to the Kansas City Royals Tuesday evening in the Bronx. Third in baseball coming in with a 2.67 ERA, this was one of those nights when manager Joe Girardi did not go with Tyler Clippard early. He did not have Dellin Betances available.
But the pen, ever so reliable gave up the home run ball and once in awhile that is expected. Jordan Montgomery left a tight game after 6.2 innings and perhaps had a little more but Girardi put faith in his pen that overall has been doing the job in these situations.
However, it can’t always work to perfection and the only bad point of it all was a loss for the Yankees and a win they could have had. Hey, at this point the Yankees still have the second best record in the American League and they should get it right again when Clippard and Betances are available Wednesday night for game three of four with the Royals.
“Unusual they have been good,” said Girardi. “They all gave up home runs. It will happen from time-to-time. Think it was one of those nights.” Girardi was taken back a bit with the Chasen Shreve home run ball on a 1-1 pitch in the eighth inning that went down the rightfield line. That ended the scoring for the Royals in a three-run inning.
Because the lefthander had not appeared in a game since Saturday, in a Yankees loss at Tampa Bay, he was rested. Before that it was Adam Warren. The righhander threw a home run ball on the first pitch to Jorge Bonifacio in the seventh and Jonathan Holder on the 0-1 pitch to Whit Merrifield field in the eighth.
Gone was the Yankees lead and there was no comeback this night. The discussion was about Warren,who gave up his first long ball of the year after Salvador Perez got one through the hole to right center. And this so called of an implosion that is not expected to continue.
“I felt I got hurt on one pitch,” Warren said. “I thought that pitch to (Perez) was a decent pitch and he found a hole. The one pitch just got me but that’s the game. That’s what it is in those situations. I’ve just got to be a little better.”
Girardi did allude to how good his bullpen has been. The Royals, even though not the potent bunch of the last few years, can still hit the fastball and go after that first pitch. Bonifacio said he was looking for the fastball and knew it was gone. Warren came in because Girardi believed it was the right match to face Perez, and Montgomery in his opinion was getting tired after throwing 98 pitches.
“Monty threw great,” Warren said. “So you hate to kind of take that away from him.”
So it was no big deal, that is, unless this implosion continues and becomes contagious. Girardi does not expect that to be a concern and neither does this bullpen core that has been reliable in holding leads and keeping these competitive Yankees in first place.
Yes, it will happen because that is the game of baseball. And this pen only gave up five home run balls in their first 42 games, the fewest in baseball.
Game Number 44 follows and there is sure to be more. But an implosion is still to be determined.
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