The Yankees are in first place in the AL East with a two-game lead over the Red Sox. That’s good. That lead would be a couple of games bigger, though, if it wasn’t for the fact that they’ve lost a handful of games in the late innings recently. A big reason for that? Their setup man is not getting the job done.
Here’s Tyler Clippard‘s last five outings:
- Last night: Clippard came into a tie game in the eighth, allowed two runners to reach, one of whom scored the go-ahead run for Oakland. The A’s went on to win in extra innings.
- Tuesday: Clippard came into the game with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth and gave up the tying home run, the Angels went on to win in extra innings.
- Monday: Clippard came into the game in which the Yankees led 3-2 in the seventh with two men on. He immediately gave up an RBI double, allowing the Angels to tie it up. He vultured the win after the Yankees scored two runs in the top of the eighth.
- Last Friday: Clippard came in with a four-run lead in the eighth. He held it. The Yankees won.
- A week ago Sunday: Clippard came in to a 2-2 game in the eighth, immediately gave up a homer to Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays won 3-2.
Summary: he’s come into the game with the Yankees either tied or in the lead five straight times. He’s blown the lead twice, once lucking into a win, once with the Yankees losing. He’s given up the go ahead run in ties twice, with the Yankees losing both games. Once he had an easy job, protecting a big cushion. Overall, he’s tossed four and a third innings, giving up four hits, two walks and three earned runs and he’s allowed an inherited runner to score.
I suspect it’s gonna be a close race in the AL East all year. If you’re in a close race you have to win close games. If your setup man is doing what Clippard’s been doing lately, you’re not gonna win a ton of close games. And, eventually, your manager is going to start going to his closer earlier and earlier, risking burning him out.
Clippard needs to right the ship. Or else the Yankees are going to need to look to someone else to handle the seventh and eighth innings.