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Yanks looking to get bullpen back on track

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Leading by two runs in the sixth inning, the Yankees turned to Tyler Clippard to provide stability to an ailing bullpen in Friday's 9-4 loss to the Brewers.

The plan was for Clippard to throw two innings and walk away with a much-needed Yanks win.

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NEW YORK -- Leading by two runs in the sixth inning, the Yankees turned to Tyler Clippard to provide stability to an ailing bullpen in Friday's 9-4 loss to the Brewers.

The plan was for Clippard to throw two innings and walk away with a much-needed Yanks win.

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Given Clippard's recent track record -- including Friday, he has allowed 15 earned runs over his past 10 appearances (16.20 ERA) -- manager Joe Girardi's decision to go with and leave him in the game reveals just how broken the Yankees' bullpen has been.

Adam Warren and Chad Green were unavailable, Girardi said, and he wanted to refrain from using Luis Cessa, who ended up coming in to pitch the last two innings anyway. The Yanks' bullpen was thin, even coming after an off-day.

Video: MIL@NYY: Girardi discusses bullpen strategy in loss

"They told me they were going to try and stay away from me yesterday," Warren said before Saturday's game. "They wanted to give me an extra day."

Warren was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, and he pitched in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, Warren said he felt fine Thursday, but he understood the decision to give him the extra day off.

"I get it with coming off the DL, you don't want to go too quick," Warren said. "I guess that was the plan."

It's hard to imagine Girardi leaning on Clippard in high-leverage situations moving forward, at least not in the near future. It's not that simple, however, as he's far from the only backend reliever struggling. Setup man Dellin Betances has allowed nine earned runs over his past seven outings (17.36 ERA).

And although his numbers look better than those of Betances and Clippard, closer Aroldis Chapman's 4.50 ERA since he was activated from the DL on June 18 is far from what the Yanks expect from him.

Girardi said it was important for Betances and Chapman to pitch in the final two games before the All-Star break, even in situations they wouldn't take the ball.

"They both need the work before the break," Girardi said.

Before Saturday's game, the Yankees recalled two fresh bullpen arms, Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder, from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to hold them over until after the break. The optioned Cessa and Friday night's starter Jordan Montgomery, who will rejoin the rotation in the second half.

Holder was 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 33 1/3 innings with the Yankees this season. Heller has pitched only one-third of an inning with New York in 2017.

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees