Having two good – if not great – bullpen options makes being a manager look easy. There’s not a great formula needed when you have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Pitch them both in either inning, it hasn’t really mattered.
But things got curious over the last couple of days with Joe Girardi’s decisions. First, he said Betances off on Wednesday, and promised he didn’t plan on using him even though the Yankees were off on Thursday. Betances threw 14 pitches the night before.
Sure, there is a long stretch of games coming up, but Betances is not going to be needed in every game in this stretch.
Then, it was announced after yesterday’s game that Andrew Miller was headed to the deal with a forearm muscle strain. There goes the closer, but the Yankees have Betances sliding into his spot in the ninth.
Yet, the worrisome part is that Miller stated to reporters after yesterday’s game that his issue didn’t occur suddenly. Miller said it has been growing.
If that were the case, why would Girardi bother bringing him in when the Yankees were up 6-1 on Tuesday? He faced one batter, but with a “growing issue,” Miller certainly seemed like someone who could have benefitted from having a day off.
With Miller on the DL and Betances being the closer, Girardi’s managerial skills and his knowledge of the bullpen are going to be truly tested.