April 5, 2010

Not worried about the Yankees bullpen

In the bottom of the sixth inning of last night’s game, I had this tweet prepared:

“Can I just say the Yankees are lucky two have Dave Robertson AND Joba Chamberlain as setup men this year? That’s a lot of strikeouts.”

But I never sent it, as Robertson allowed an RBI single moments before I hit enter.

After pondering it over today, I still stand by that statement for the most part. Robertson was second in the majors in K/9 ratio (13.00) last year and Chamberlain will gradually return to 2007 form with more relief appearances.

Chris H. of The Yankee U addressed Chamberlain’s velocity question today. He hit 94-96 a few times, but mostly sat in the low 90s with his fastball. In ‘07, Joba was in the high 90s with his fastball and had a devastating slider.

Chamberlain’s role this year is the same as it was at the end of 2007, as MLB.com confirms, the eighth inning guy. Now he’ll be able to get into a rhythm of throwing one inning — or even less — at a time.

Throwing fewer innings means less stress on the arm and means he can air it out more. I think we’ll see a rise in velocity throughout his appearances in April and he’ll be close to ‘07 form by mid-May.

Chan Ho Park’s debut was disappointing, but you have to remember it was also against one of the toughest offenses in baseball. I wasn’t expecting him to be a big-game guy out of relief. I think Joe Girardi goes to Alfredo Aceves last night instead of Park if it weren’t for his back.

Oh yeah, and the Yankees have Mariano Rivera, the most reliable closer of all-time. The bullpen is fine.

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