Yankees Pen: Saving Games and Taking Names

The baseball world can’t seem to lock down a true nickname for the New York Yankees’ trio of relief pitchers, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman, but luckily the three have had no problem locking down games for the Bronx Bombers.

Whether you call them “No Runs-DMC” or “Done BMC,” or something else entirely, one thing is clear, the Yankees are getting exactly what they bargained for when they assembled the All-Star contingent of relievers for the 2016 season.

Since Aroldis Chapman’s debut against the Kansas City Royals on May 9, the Yankees have summoned the three-armed monster of Betances, Miller, and Chapman five times, resulting in a Yankee win each time.

While Yankee manager, Joe Girardi, acknowledges the risk in overusing the trio, the skipper said, “I will call upon them 99 percent of the time,” if necessary, and so far he has stood by those words.

Yankees vs. Diamondbacks: Wednesday, May 18

In Wednesday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Girardi elected to hand the ball to Betances with a 3-1 lead in the 7th inning even though starter, Nathan Eovaldi, had given the Yankees six dominant innings with a pitch count of just 85. Betances would end up pitching a scoreless frame, but not before throwing 31 pitches to retire the Diamondbacks. Miller would allow a solo home run to Chris Owings to begin the 8th, but the left-hander would follow that by striking out the next three batters to end the inning. In the 9th, Chapman would retire the side in order to pick up the save in the Yankees 4-2 win.

Yankees vs. Athletics: Thursday, May 19

In what seemed to be deja vu all over again the next night against the Oakland Athletics, Girardi pulled Yankee starter, Ivan Nova, after allowing one run in six innings while having thrown an efficient 62 pitches. Despite Betances’ high pitch count the previous night, Girardi unleashed the 6’8’’ right-hander once again, this time with a 2-1 lead, and again Betances pitched a scoreless frame. Miller and Chapman would follow that up by throwing back to back scoreless innings to close out the Yankees 4-1 victory over the Athletics.


While Girardi’s short leash on Eovaldi and Nova is certainly questionable considering how few pitches they had thrown in their respective outings, it is hard to argue with cutting them short when Betances, Miller, and Chapman have locked down victories each time.

In the five games that all three relievers have pitched, Betances, Miller, and Chapman have pitched a combined 15.1 innings. The relievers have allowed just two earned runs, seven hits, and two walks, but their most impressive statistic has been their ability to rack up strikeouts, 27 in total. That is nearly two strikeouts per inning, and is equivalent to a K/9 inning ratio of 16.09. That strikeout rate shouldn’t be too surprising considering Chapman, Miller, and Betances finished one-two-three in the majors for their K/9 rate in 2015. Their ability to strikeout batters is one of the reasons why Girardi has relied on them so often.

We didn’t put them together for games that are 6-1 or 7-1, but when you’ve got 3-1 and 2-1 and they’re close games and you have guys that strike people out, it’s much harder to score,” Girardi said.

The Yankees are 10-4 since Chapman returned from a 30-game suspension to begin the season, and the left-hander’s presence behind Betances and Miller is no doubt part of the reason for the team’s recent success. At 21-22, the Yankees have worked themselves into quite a hole. They are currently 5.5 games behind the American League East leading Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox going into Monday, but they are trending in the right direction after beginning the season 11-18.

The trio of relievers cannot score runs, nor can they start ballgames, but if the rest of the team does their job and can toss a lead to Betances, Miller, and Chapman, the three have proven that the end result is merely formality. Call that what you want; I call that “game over.”

Leave a Reply