Yankees’ bullpen set to get back a major piece

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, tommy kahnle
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees‘ bullpen has encountered significant challenges recently, undermining the team’s efforts to maintain leads in crucial games.

In a notable instance on Monday, closer Clay Holmes surrendered a three-run lead in the ninth inning, marking a disappointing performance for the team. This lapse in effectiveness continued into Tuesday, with the bullpen again failing to contain the Seattle Mariners’ offense.

Yankees’ Bullpen Struggles as Season Progresses

These back-to-back bullpen failures represent an uncharacteristic dip in performance for what is usually a reliable unit (but that’s just baseball!). However, there is optimism within the team, as reinforcements are expected to arrive soon, starting with Tommy Kahnle’s anticipated return to the lineup.

Reinforcements on the Horizon

Following Tuesday’s game, the Yankees made a roster change by sending left-handed pitcher Clayton Andrews back to Triple-A Scranton. This move is interpreted as making room for the return of Tommy Kahnle, signaling his recovery from a lengthy shoulder injury.

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle
May 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (48) pitches during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kahnle, a crucial component of the bullpen, boasted impressive stats last season with a 2.66 ERA and a strikeout rate of 10.62 per nine innings. His return is eagerly awaited, as he brings a proven ability to handle high-pressure situations effectively.

Kahnle’s pitching arsenal, which includes a deceptive change-up and a fast four-seam fastball, has historically confused batters, evidenced by their low batting averages against these pitches last season. Although Kahnle is generally used for two innings at most, his strategic use in the bullpen could significantly stabilize the Yankees’ late-game performances, especially necessary with Ian Hamilton temporarily out due to being on the Covid list.

Looking forward, the Yankees remain optimistic about their bullpen’s prospects for improvement. The team anticipates the returns of Lou Trivino and Scott Effross from injuries as pivotal moments akin to acquiring new players at the trade deadline. These “acquisitions” are expected to provide a substantial boost around late July, enhancing the bullpen’s depth and resilience as the season progresses.

With these adjustments and recoveries, the Yankees hope to resolve their current bullpen woes, strengthening their capacity to secure wins in tightly contested games and maintain their competitive edge.

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