Today, the New York Yankees and the baseball world has a chance to witness the greatest trio a bullpen has ever seen.
Run for the hills ladies and gentlemen. The monstrosity that is the back end of the New York Yankees bullpen is being unleashed tonight and no one can be sheltered from its wrath.
Aroldis Chapman will return to Major League Baseball after serving a 30-game suspension given to him by commissioner Rob Manfred under the new domestic violence policy.
The flamethrower will instantly claim the closer position in the monumental bullpen that already features Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Those two have struck out 47 of the 94 batters (50%) they’ve faced this season and are both in the in the top five in the Americal League in strikeouts.
In 2015, while the trio rounded out the top three spots of baseball’s strikeout leaders, they combined for a 1.70 ERA with 347 strikeouts in 212 2/3 innings.
They were the only relievers to reach the 100 strikeout mark and the 2016 New York Yankees are the first team ever to own three pitchers who each had 100 strikeouts as a reliever in the season prior.
The Yankees currently rank atop the league with an average fastball velocity of 93.3 MPH according to Fan Graphs, and that’s without the man that lead all of baseball with 453 100-MPH fastballs thrown last season.
Hypothetically speaking, manager Joe Girardi could reduce the game length by about one-third. Miller could be used to get out of a jam or just flat out relief in the sixth inning, Betances could pitch two innings (as we’ve seen it done time and time again) and Chapman will show off his fastball in the ninth.
Of course, that can’t be the case each game as the Yankee manager has gone to a fault at times to rest his bullpen arms. Betances was used a ton in 2015 and ran out of gas as the season entered the dog days and September. The key is getting through May, June, etc without tiring arms before you start racking up innings on your historically epic pen.
But in postseason play or an important game, you could bet your money on seeing Girardi go to the pen with a lead as early as the fourth inning and there’d be a valid probability the game would conclude with a Yankees win.
We’ve seen the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants fuel World Championship runs off a lights-out bullpen, and what the Yankees have done is build a World Series caliber ‘pen.
So hide your kids, hide your wife because Chapman is coming in the ninth. Under the bright lights in which he will thrive, no one is safe from the bloodcurdling threesome that is the New York Yankees’ bullpen.