The New York Yankees approach the end of the first half of the 2018 campaign with a 61-32 record, 3.5 games behind division rival, the Boston Red Sox (66-30).
The Yankee pitchers are second to Houston (2.94) in ERA with a 3.46 mark, fifth in K/BB with 3.27, and again, second to Houston (.211) in batting average against with .223.
With the early season injury to Jordan Montgomery and the more recent injury to Masahiro Tanaka, and the addition of AAA pitchers Domingo German and Luis Cessa, on occasion, the Yankees rotation has not taken on the form that Yankee fans envisioned when the season opened.
As predicted by many before the season started, however, the Yankees relief corps has been elite and consists of Aroldis Chapman at the top of his game, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Chasen Shreve, David Robertson, Adam Warren, Tommy Kahnle, AJ Cole, Giovanny Gallegos and the erstwhile Yankee, and now newest member of the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles, David Hale.
Fans may recall that Fangraphs predicted the Yankees bullpen in 2018 to be “possibly historic,” based on the 2017 results and the fact that everyone from 2017 was returning. Certainly in the first half of the season, they are proving to be just as good as advertised.
In April, though, fans asked, what is wrong with the Yankees bullpen? Betances and Kahnle stumbled out of the gate and Green (3.60) and Robinson (5.40) struggled to get their ERA’s under control. Then the injury bug hit Warren and Kahnle and it seemed the bullpen had hit a snag in it’s bid for history.
Since June 1, however, the unit has posted a 1.64 ERA, as Erik Boland shows below, with a lower mark than everyone else in Major League Baseball and with Houston (2.70) in second place during that stretch.
The Yankees bullpen held the Indians hitless over the final four innings and the unit has posted a 1.64 ERA since June 1, the lowest mark in MLB in that stretch (HOU is next, 2.70).
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 13, 2018
Of course, the most conspicuous and most effective of the Yankee relievers, Chapman, has led the way for this elite crew. He has 26 saves in 40 innings pitched along with a 1.35 ERA. Others such as Betances, Robertson and Green have all made adjustments and steadily improved throughout the course of the first half of the season.
Warren and Kahnle have returned from the disabled list; however, Kahnle has yet to right the ship and is currently in AAA at Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Warren has been effective since his return and is always a solid option for Yankees Manager Aaron Boone when the situation calls for a multi-inning reliever.
The Yankees bullpen has impacted the team’s success at every opportunity this season. The bullpen is certainly set to accomplish that historic pace Fangraphs predicted.
.@Yankees relievers have brought the 🔥.
They are the 1st ‘pen EVER to record 400+ Ks before the All-Star break. pic.twitter.com/rjFs6pTcrp
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) July 16, 2018
The second half promises to be even better for this hot unit of the Yankees team!