The Yankees’ bullpen has been a force to reckon with in the early going, with a 1.74 ERA entering Monday’s action that ranked as the American League’s best. If you ask Chad Green, they’re doing exactly what was expected.
Green has been one of the standouts in manager Aaron Boone’s relief mix, including a stellar 2 1/3-inning performance in Sunday’s 8-4, 10-inning victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field. The right-hander has worked 7 2/3 scoreless frames to begin the season.
“I think it’s just getting in a good count and trying to not be too perfect right now,” Green said. “I like the fact that I haven’t thrown a lot of pitches per outing. Even when our starter doesn’t go deep in the game and we’re a little short in the bullpen, to be able to provide some relief and do some different things has paid off.”
The only better bullpen in the Majors belongs to the Padres, who entered Monday with an 0.84 ERA. New York’s .152 opponent batting average and 0.72 WHIP are the best in the Majors. Green believes that this crew of relievers can continue the strong performance, viewing Sunday’s "getaway day" victory over the Rays as a potential turning point.
“It was no secret that the first few games [of the road trip], we didn’t play the way we wanted,” he said. “Those losses just weren’t sitting well with us. Knowing that we needed a win to get things back going, the offense grinded out some at-bats and we were able to get it done.”
Less is more
Aaron Judge missed two games last week with soreness in his left side, which Boone attributed to the slugger taking too many swings in the Yankee Stadium batting cages during a designated hitter day.
Boone would like to see Judge manage his workload more conservatively, and Judge acknowledges that there could be some benefit to that.
“I’m a guy that when my swing doesn’t feel right, I go right to work,” Judge said. “I take swings, I get more routes in the outfield. I think it might have just been a little issue of taking too many hundreds of swings down there in the cage before and after games. It’s early in the season. You’ve got to pace yourself, especially when it’s 162 [games]. It’s not the 60-game sprint we had last year.”
Clarke Schmidt (strained right elbow) received a cortisone injection and could resume throwing later this week or early next week, according to Boone. The Yankees’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Schmidt missed all of Spring Training after straining his common extensor tendon in February.
History in the making
With his 10th-inning single on Sunday, Rougned Odor became just the fourth Yankee since 1974 whose first hit with the team was a game-winning hit in extra innings. Odor joined Alex Johnson (Sept. 10, 1974, at Boston), Alfonso Soriano (Sept. 24, 1999, vs. Tampa Bay) and Chase Headley (July 22, 2014, vs. Texas).
He said it
“It sounds kind of cheesy, but you could put two Major League teams in a municipal park somewhere. We’re going to find a way to compete and make it work. This is a division matchup. We’re playing the Blue Jays.” -- Jameson Taillon, on playing at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.
This date in Yankees history
April 12, 1993: Paul O’Neill made his Yankee Stadium debut, going 4-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs in a 4-1 victory over the Royals.