The New York Yankees are undoubtedly one of the best teams in baseball, but their bullpen has lacked serious consistency down the stretch, putting their future in question.
When relief pitcher Jonathan Holder was sent down to the Yankees’ Triple A team after giving up six runs and six hits in 2 1/2 innings, nobody thought he would return with a vengeance. Since being called back up to the majors, Holder has appeared in 13 games, pitching 15 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, no earned runs, striking out 16 and walking two. Hitters are batting a putrid .098 with a .247 OPS.
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If that’s not one of the most extravagant turnarounds for a relief pitcher, then I must be blind. Clearly Holder is on a hot-streak, and while it won’t last forever, maybe he can channel this newfound talent into the longevity of his game.
“Trying to command my fastball and play it off the slider,’’ Holder said before the Yankees’ game against the Orioles was postponed Thursday night because of rain. “I shaped it up better.’’
Manager Aaron Boone stated in regard to Holder:
“He has been a real factor for us in a lot of different roles, high leverage [spots] where he has gotten big outs,’’ Boone said. “He comes in pounding that strike zone and pitches with a lot of confidence in all his pitches and it shows.’’
The Yankees received relief from a struggling bullpen just in time to help close out a three game series against the Houston Astros, in which they won two of three games. They will try to continue their good fortune as they seek another series win against the Baltimore Orioles.