So, as we have seen there were some questionable decisions made by Aaron Boone, the Yankees’ manager, with regard to the batting line-up and substitutions. We, therefore, shouldn’t be surprised that those strange moments weren’t confined to the batting and the defence but affected the pitching too. Can anybody spell Austin Romine?
So, here are the pitching statistics before we look at some of the standout moments:
|New York Yankees 2018 – Pitching – Playoffs|
Well, first let us think about Austin Romine. Now, I don’t mean here Romine as a battery mate with one of the starting pitchers. No! He wasn’t used in that way at all. But in the third game of the five-game series against eventual World Series winners, Boston Red Sox, Romine WAS called on to pitch the 9th inning. Romine did what we might call a “Wade Boggs” but on a whole different scale. Boggs, you may remember, pitched for the Yankees in a 1997 game against Anaheim. He delivered up a shutout inning in a fairly meaningless game against the Angels. And everybody had fun.
Now that didn’t happen in the American League Division Series (ALDS). This did. In the game to that point the Yankees had used 5 pitchers across 8 innings and, no doubt, the game was lost. But they had options. They could have kept Stephen Tarpley on. They could have used anyone of the other 7 pitchers on the roster – someone must not have been needed the following day. Or they could have anticipated that one of the games needed more relief and carried an extra man on the roster – especially since they seemed determined to make their starters’ appearances short whether they were doing well or not. They could have carried Sonny Gray, for example. Now, Gray is much reviled by the Yankees’ faithful but having him available has none of the psychological baggage and impact of having to call on Romine who has never pitched in the major leagues before. I’ve said enough.
The Yankees did win 2 games, of course. One of the wins was even awarded to a member of the starting rotation. In the win against Oakland in the Wildcard playoff game, Luis Severino was removed after four innings (a correct decision) and so the win was awarded to Dellin Betances. Severino’s 2nd start was in the aforementioned laugher against Boston when Romine ended up pitching the 9th. Luis gave up 6 runs in 3 innings in that one. The other win went to Masahiro Tanaka who was by far the best of the Yankees’ starters but again, he was only allowed to pitch 5 innings in that game and not used again in the playoffs. J.A. Happ (1 appearance, 2 innings) and CC Sabathia (1 appearance, 3 innings) were both pretty awful. Lance Lynn (who has been a sometime starter in the regular season) was used in THAT game against the Red Sox. He came in at 6-zip and left after only a third of an inning at 9-zero. He had been used 3 days previously against the Red Sox and, again, could have been left on longer. The Yankees weren’t going to get back into it. I’m beginning to sound like I have a bee-in-my-bonnet about this.
Thankfully, to jerk me out of my misery, several members of the bullpen had an excellent time in the two playoff series. Best of the bunch was David Robertson. He pitched in three of the five games. He didn’t allow anyone to get a hit. His post-season stats for 2018 show a WHIP of .27. Also, with a WHIP of less than one from their bullpen appearances were Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances. Betances gave up a run but otherwise pitched an exemplary 5.1 innings. Chapman closed out three games and is beginning to look back to his best after his injury.
Chad Green and Jonathan Holder both performed reasonably, and the statistical examination reflects that fairly. Short-term hired-hand, Zach Britton could have been better, and Tarpley looked out of his depth in that one nightmare game.
And so, we close the book on 2018. The big questions brought up by the playoffs surround Aaron Boone. Is it just a lack of experience or a bigger problem? Only time will tell.
Next time, we will look at Brian Cashman’s efforts to re-stock for 2019.