Yankees’ pitching coach talks about length, balancing starters’ workloads and not overtaxing the bullpen

Andres Chavez
matt blake, New York Yankees

While the New York Yankees’ bullpen has been extremely impressive in the early going, the starting rotation hasn’t been able to replicate that success. Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery have been phenomenal, but Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo German haven’t been as good.

Before Thusday’s games, Yankees’ starters not named Cole had combined for a 6.06 ERA, and if we take Montgomery’s 3.27 ERA, it would be even worse. Needless to say, Kluber, German, and Taillon haven’t been able to provide length, either, overtaxing the bullpen.

The Yankees’ relievers have a 1.84 ERA, which is the best mark in the junior circuit. And it has been a team effort, well beyond the usual names: Lucas Luetge, Nick Nelson, and Jonathan Loaisiga have also contributed.

The Yankees and the balancing act of pitching workloads

Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake knows it’s still early in the season, but he also knows that it’s important to preserve the health and effectiveness of the relief corps.

“It’s something we talked a lot about in the preseason as an organization of how we want to prioritize these innings,” Blake told MLB.com. “Obviously, we have a lot of question marks just in general about the durability of the rotation given the last couple of years.

“The onus was to protect the pitch count early on. On the back side of it, you don’t want to overexpose the bullpen. It’s a long season for them too. Early on, some starters held to some pitch counts was by design, and there were some long innings involved there. We have probably gotten the bullpen more work than ideally we would like, but it’s something we are well aware of. As the turns keep coming around, the [starters] will keep getting built up and we’ll pull back on some of the innings.”

Judging by Blake’s words, the Yankees expect their pitchers, including Kluber and Taillon, to slowly ramp up and pitch more innings as the season advances.