On Yesterday's 9th Inning Pitching Decision

I'll try to make this quick.  Regardless of how any of us feel about relief pitchers and relief roles and how managers go about using their bullpen, I think we can all agree on these facts:

  • Yesterday's game was critically important
  • David Robertson is the best or 2nd best reliever in the Yankee 'pen
  • David Robertson was well rested yesterday (hadn't pitched since Sunday)
  • David Robertson is better than Shawn Kelley
  • The Yankees needed to prevent the Tigers from scoring in the 9th to keep the game going

So then why was it that Kelley got the call to pitch the bottom of the 9th over D-Rob?  It made no sense.  Having your closer available to close the game only matters when you have the lead.  If you don't, the most important thing is to keep the other team from scoring so that your offense can have another opportunity (or opportunities) to score to take the lead.

This wasn't the first time that Joe has taken that approach with D-Rob this season and watched as his choice gave up the game-losing run while his best reliever sat on the bench.  It's almost not worth getting mad about anymore.  Joe has his roles and ideas in mind for what each of his relievers' jobs are, and he's not going to stray from them for any reason.  It's not a winning strategy, but it's one that I, and we, should probably all accept and move on.

It's one thing to not want to use Betances for 2 innings last night.  I get that.  But you have to be willing to use D-Rob for at least 1 and you have to use him in the 9th when the game is on the line.