Yankees bullpen can’t go forever without Andrew Miller

The New York Yankees took a hit when closer Andrew Miller went on the 15-day DL with a forearm strain last week, but their bullpen has held its own since then. Dellin Betances and his 0.27 ERA moved into the closer role, and the rest of the pen has been pitching pretty solidly.

When you lose a guy like Miller, who is so critical to a team’s success, it can hurt big time. But the Yankees also have Betances, who has also been in shutdown mode this year. Even though the Yankees dropped two of three against the Orioles, that was no the fault of the bullpen. They allowed five runs in three innings on Saturday, but Friday and Sunday were much better. The bullpen surrendered only two earned runs in 3.2 innings of a 11-3 rout Friday, and then Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Betances combined for 4.1 innings with no runs, no hits, and five strikeouts on Sunday as Betances earned his third save of the year and Shreve his third win.

The Yankees bullpen as a whole this year has been very reliable for skipper Joe Girardi. They have a respectable 3.25 ERA in 202 innings pitched, a WHIP of 1.15, 219 strikeouts, and 21 saves. Their bullpen ranks 11th in the bigs in ERA, first in strikeouts, and fourth in saves. The Yankees have turned to a lot of different guys this year for help out of the pen, including some without a whole lot of big league experience. Betances, Shreve, and Branden Pinder all have less than two years of experience, and all have ERA’s under 2.20. They have been getting productivity everywhere.

While they Yankees can manage without Miller for a short while, they can’t go forever without him. When they have a healthy Miller, it allows the Yankees to use him for more that an inning if needed, or use Betances for a few in relief before turning it over to Miller. The Yankees’ bullpen has surprised a lot of people with how well it has done so far, but they need their best pitcher back soon to really shine and help the Yankees win ball games.

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