Nothing determines the difference between good or bad teams anymore quite like a good or bad bullpens.
Tonight, the Yankees will activate Clay Holmes from the I.L., and the hope is getting their All-Star closer back healthy and in good form will help fix a critical problem area for the Yankees over the last month.
Holmes was nearly unhittable over the first three months of the season, but he allowed 26 baserunners (including 10 walks and 5 hit batters) in his last 11 appearances before landing on the injured list with back spasms.
While the Yankees hope the time to rest and heal the back issue improves Holmes’ command, the right-hander has also made a slight mechanical tweak: moving his set position a few inches from the third base side of the rubber towards the middle. That little change might help keep his power sinker from boring too far inside and hitting the righty batters.
Jonathan Loaisiga has looked more like his 2021 version lately, too. After his own stint on the injured list with a shoulder strain, Loaisiga’s command in the month following his return wasn’t quite “dialed in” and “a little more scattered” according to Aaron Boone – but in his last three appearances, Loaisiga’s sharpness has returned, and he’s retired eight of the nine batters he’s faced.
Losing Chad Green and Michael King for the season to injuries and the continued decline of Aroldis Chapman (tattoo issues aside) have cut significantly into the depth and strength of Boone’s bullpen, which used three pitchers Sunday who weren’t on the roster a week ago.
Getting Holmes and Loaisiga back in good form can go a long way into repairing it.
Follow Sweeny Murti on Twitter: @YankeesWFAN
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