Deep bullpen lives up to Yankees offseason vision: ‘Everything we could ask for’

As much as the Yankees believe in their rotation, they entered the regular season confident that they were uniquely prepared to deal with the lack of development in their starting pitchers.

And that wasn’t just because of his faith in the back of the bullpen, but also because of the presence of Michael King and Clarke Schmidt.

It’s one of the reasons the Yankees decided to open the season with 16 pitchers and just a dozen position players, essentially using both extra spots on the roster in pitching depth.

Both King and Schmidt have already pitched well for multiple innings in the first series of the season.

How long the Yankees have the luxury of keeping the pair of right-handers in the corral is up for debate.

“We’ll see,” Aaron Boone said of the bullpen makeup before the Yankees began a four-game series against the Blue Jays Monday night at Stadium.

“You can sit there and do the math on who will be in the pen when we have eight guys in there,” the manager said. “But we are still a few weeks away from that and things can always change.”

miguel king
miguel king
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

For now, Schmidt and King “certainly” give the Yankees additional flexibility because of their backgrounds as starting pitchers. “His first outings of it were encouraging.”

The same can be said for the bullpen in general, which leaned heavily during the Boston series, allowing only two earned runs in 18 ²/₃ innings for a 0.96 ERA, while striking out 19 batters.

Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green, Lucas Luetge, Wandy Peralta and newcomers Miguel Castro and Ron Marinaccio combined for 12 ¹/₃ scoreless innings before Monday night.

The only two earned runs allowed were by Schmidt, who allowed a solo home run on Sunday night, which was the only baserunner he allowed in 2 ²/₃ innings, and Clay Holmes, who allowed a run in 1 ²/₃. tickets. this season.

“Obviously we can’t use eight relievers a night, but for now, those guys are doing everything we can ask for,” Boone said. “Everyone is capable of doing different things, which gives us more options.”

Schmidt, who the organization still views as a starter but some scouts believe is a better fit for the bullpen due in part to his injury history, said he feels comfortable pitching in the role he currently has.

clarke schmidt
clarke schmidt
Roberto Sabo

“I know what the team expects of me and I would love to be in the rotation sometime this year, but right now is where they need me and I know they are putting me in a good position to be successful.” Schmidt said. “We’ve seen a lot of guys pitch in a lot of different roles over the last couple of years, so you want to be a part of that mix. As long as I’m healthy, I think I can help wherever they put me.”

Entering Monday night, only the Diamondbacks had needed more bullpen innings (23 innings) and the Yankees’ 88.2 percent strand rate was third in the American League, behind Tampa Bay and Minnesota.

“Hopefully we’re not running them like this for too long,” Boone said. “We might want to add a position player at some point, but for now, this is working for us.”

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