The Yankees were in control of the past 2 games against the Red Sox, yet required a dramatic comeback to win on Monday and blew last night’s game, as their frantic 9th inning comeback fell short. In both games, the Yankees were severely handicapped late by a lack of bench and bullpen options.
In Monday night’s contest, Phil Hughes did not have his best stuff and was only able to give them 5 innings – though the Yankees did lead after 5. From there, Girardi went to Boone Logan for an inning and tried to use Chan Ho Park for 2. Logan gave up a solo homerun and the wheels completely came off for Park, who did not record an out in the 8th. At the time, I was stunned that Girardi had not gone to David Robertson or Joba Chamberlain. However, Girardi will not overwork his bullpen guys, and both of those relievers had logged a good number of innings the night before. Ivan Nova had been sent down to activate Park, so the only other options the Yankees really had were Demaso Marte and Javier Vazquez, the later of which Girardi was loathe to use and was only called on eventually in the 9th when Girardi had no other options.
All of this was quickly forgotten thanks to the 9th inning heroics of Alex Rodriguez and Marcus Thames. But how can a team like the Yankees get themselves into that dire of a situation? Skipping Vazquez and making him a longman that Girardi didn’t actually want to use is part of it. Do-it-all pitcher Alfredo Aceves being on the DL also didn’t help. However, the Yankees do have options in the minors: Nova, Romulo Sanchez, and Mark Melancon all have live arms and could end up seeing significant time this year.
Yesterday, the Yankees realized the situation and called up Melancon. This gave the bullpen depth, but it was at the expense of outfielder Greg Golson. In last night’s game, the Yankees had no late-inning defensive replacement for Marcus Thames, who consequently dropped a fly ball, allowing the winning runs to score. The blame for this does not lie entirely an bringing up Melancon however. Both Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher are currently active players on the team but are unable to play (though I have to say I was a little surprised you didn’t see Swisher replace Thames for defense).
So Girardi had almost no bench. No defensive replacement for Thames and no pinch-hitter for Randy Winn. The idea of losing either Swisher or Posada for 2 weeks is not a comforting one, but if they will not be ready to play, they need to go on the DL so the Yankees can have some options.