David Robertson was the easy choice to replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees’ closer, but now that Robertson is out with a groin injury manager Joe Girardi isn’t sure who’ll be taking over ninth-inning duties.
Asked this morning who’ll serve as the Yankees’ closer, Girardi told Danny Knobler of ESPN New York: “That’s a great question.”
Shawn Kelley might get first crack at the job, although for today’s game at least he’s unavailable. And he’s also a 30-year-old with a 3.70 lifetime ERA who picked up his first career save … yesterday.
Left-hander Matt Thornton has the most closing experience among the available candidates, which also includes Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Dellin Betances. Not a lot of inspiring options, although the hope is that Robertson can return from the disabled list in a couple weeks anyway. How about a two-week contract for Mo?
Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”