Thanks Hank

I’ve got a couple of sports points that I want to make, and because they’re very distinct, I’m going to give them seperate posts.

Firstly, I think that someone should put it on this series of tubes that, if the Yankees do miss the playoffs for the first time since I was in the single digits of age, all fingers should point squarely at one person….Hank Steinbrenner. It was Hank, after all, who agitated and agitated to rush Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation despite his recent history of arm injuries and his stellar performance as an 8th inning man, and now he, predictably, is hurting after overworking his capabilities through the summer. And on top of that, the Yankees have no reliabe relievers, outside of lefty specialist Damaso Marte now, to bridge the gap from the starter to Mo. All in all I think Steinbrenner was, again, predictably obsessed with doing something because, just like a Steinbrenner, he was panicing in May. And on some level I think relievers, especially 8th inning guys, are incredibly underappreciated for what they do.

Relievers shorten games. I will argue until I’m blue in the face that there wasn’t a single factor more important to the Yankees run through August and September last season than the Joba-Mo duo closing out games, because they were simply lights out. And what that means to a ballclub is that games effectively become 7 innings instead of 9, because you feel pretty confident that if you take the lead into the 8th inning, the back end of your bullpen is going to shut the door every night. That’s huge for your ballclub. It takes a lot of pressure off of your hitters late in the game, and does wonders for the confidence of your starting pitchers. Imagine what Dan Geisse’s 6 inning shut out would have looked like today if it could have been turned over to Joba and Rivera. Instead, the bullpen gives up 11 runs.

The Yankees have plenty of bullpen talent. Edwar Ramirez and Darrell Rasner have promise as middle relievers, and Damaso Marte is an excellent left handed specialist. But they don’t have anyone I’d feel confident in night in and night out to turn the lead over to Rivera, and they certainly don’t have anyone waiting to take over the 9th inning in the near future when Mariano decides it’s time to start the Hall of Fame countdown. What does Hank plan on doing then?