Yankee Flaw Shows Itself in Chicago

Bullpen bombs in 9-6 loss to White Sox

The back of the Yankee bullpen is one of the team's biggest strengths.

David Robertson and Rafael Soriano have made Mariano Rivera's absence easier to stomach over the course of the season. The Yankees have a long history of feeling secure when they take a lead into the late innings and it hasn't disappeared along with the great Rivera.

When things go right with the starting pitcher, the Yankees are in dynamite shape for a win just about every night of the week. The trickier area for the Yankees is the nights when the starting pitcher doesn't do well.

Nights like Monday, for example. Freddy Garcia was at his sweatiest, dancing around trouble for four innings before allowing five straight runners to reach in the fifth and shuffling off to the showers in favor of the lesser members of the Yankees bullpen.

The results were not good. Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada allowed two inherited baserunners from Garcia to score and then Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Derek Lowe allowed four more to cross the plate to turn an early Yankee lead into a 9-6 loss that cut the AL East lead to four games.

That fifth inning felt like a classic Joe Girardi hash job as he used four pitchers to get three outs after they allowed five runs, but it really wasn't one of Girardi's flights of overmanaging. It was a man looking for a solution that wasn't present.

After the top two guys in the Yankee pen, there isn't anyone that you can count on to get multiple outs a few times a week. That's not particularly unusual for a major league baseball team, but it does expose a flaw that can hurt the Yankees over the long run when they give away winnable games like the one on Monday.

If the Yankees want to rectify this situation, the only answer is to go out and get another righty reliever in the next 10 days. Logan is a fine lefty specialist, but there's no third righty out in the pen who can get the team through a dicey sixth inning.

They hoped it would be Chamberlain, but he's looked exactly like a pitcher coming off of two serious injuries in a little more than a year and he obviously isn't someone you can count on in big spots the rest of the way. The Yankees need someone like that, an addition that isn't gilding the lily nearly as much as it is making sure that one faulty bolt doesn't bring down the whole bridge.

Relievers like that can be overpriced on the open market, something that likely bothers Brian Cashman. Prices are all relative, however, and the outcry for a lost prospect will be a lot quieter than the outcry following a season ending because Cody Eppley's been tasked with getting huge outs.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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