clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Does Yankee Stadium Warrant 3-Day Bullpen Shuffle?

New, comments
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New York Yankees hit a lot of homeruns. Partly this is because the Yankees spend roughly 3.2infinity dollars per player and it's also because the short porch at Yankee Stadium even turns Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew into power hitters.

Basically, be very afraid of Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann and then also be afraid of anyone else who steps up to the plate batting from the left side.

You could say that much of the A's bullpen is an especially bad match for a short porch in RF. The A's most consistent reliever, and their closer, is Tyler Clippard who specializes in getting fly balls. Probably the next best reliever overall has been the steadily improving Fernando Rodriguez, a high fastball specialist whose main weakness has been the tendency to give up warning track fly balls now and again. Shall I recite Evan Scribner's HR rate or would that just be cruel to him and more cruel to us?

I'm thinking that the combination of Clippard's, Rodriguez', and Scribner's styles, in combination with the Yankees' hitters and stadium, just invite too much disaster. I would favor using Clippard only against the lower half of the order, even if that happens to come up in the 8th inning. A matchup of Clippard against Teixeira, McCann, Beltran in a tight game is just inviting predictable disaster. Move Rodriguez to lower leverage and Scribner to mop-up (where he has been lately, as Bob Melvin appears to have as little confidence in him right now as many fans do).

Of course someone has to pitch to the heart of the order, someone has to pitch the 8th and 9th if the A's have a lead. Who should be in for the last go around through the Yankees' power hitters? Drew Pomeranz is an especially good choice, since he would turn Teixeira and Beltran around, and Pomeranz gets the platoon advantage against McCann and Headley.

Wobbly as he has been, if his back is better and he is available I think the A's need to lean on Fernando Abad to neutralize LHs that might otherwise get more high leverage shots at Rodriguez and Clippard. The bottom line is, I don't want to see Teixeira or McCann launch a game-tying or winning HR off of our RH fly ball specialists, even if they have been the A's best relievers overall, when Pomeranz or even Abad could be managing those key at bats.

So for example, if the A's hold a one-run lead going to the bottom of the 8th, with the Yankees sending their 8-9-1 batters to the plate, give me Clippard for the 8th and Pomeranz for the 9th, knowing that the 9th is going to feature the "short porch specialists". Then revert back to "business as usual" in Cleveland.

Should you shake up that much over a stadium configuration and batters who routinely take advantage? Like shifting, it's a notion that when first presented seems radical and excessive -- until it becomes commonplace because it not only works, it also just kind of makes sense.