The Yankees squeaked out a solid 3-2 victory last night in 10 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, however, without some ninth inning “heroics,” the team could have fallen to 7-15 in one-run games this year. Tied at 1-1 entering the eighth inning, Joe Torre called on Kyle Farnsworth to hold the game tied until the Yankees could muster enough offense to win the game. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Farnsworth proved once again that he is the worst guy in the bullpen for keeping runner off the base paths.
Farnsworth gave up a single to Blue Jays slugger Frank Thomas, who was then lifted for pinch-runner Howie Clark, who has been on base 17 times this year and has one stolen base. Inexplicably, Farnsworth whipped a pick off throw to Andy Phillips while Clark was still standing on the bag; the ball flied past Phillips, who obviously could not be expecting a throw when the runner hadn’t even taken a lead yet, and Clark advanced to second. Lyle Overbay lined out to first baseman Andy Phillips, who was in perfect position to catch the line drive because the runner had moved to second (hopefully this was not Farnsworth’s idea). Unable to get the runner leaning too far off of second, the Blue Jays were left with a runner on second and one out.
Aaron Hill was the next batter and he lined a shot into left field, scoring Clark from second, allowing the Blue Jays to take a 2-1 lead in the eighth. Farnsworth was able to get out of the inning three batters later (this included an intentional walk to Matt Stairs), but the damage had already been done. Unable to score in the bottom of the eighth, Torre sent Brian Bruney out to the mound for the ninth and he was able to retire the side in order.
Had it not been for a ninth-inning balk by Blue Jays closer Jeremy Accardo and some tenth inning heroics by Robinson Cano, the Yankees would have blown another 1-run game.
After watching another Farnsworth melt down, I realized I had to check on some stats to find out if my dislike of the pitcher was warranted. I have been a Brian Bruney promoter all year and especially liked how Edwar Ramirez threw in his two appearances. Needless to say, the stats tell the true story of why Farnsworth should never be the first (if any) reliever brought into the game.
– Farnsworth allows either a hit or a walk in 88% of his appearances. Mike Myers leads the team with 57%, although it should be noted that Myers is usually brought in to face a single batter versus Farnsworth who comes in for a full inning.
– Additionally, Farnsworth issues a walk in 55% of his appearances and allows a hit 73% of the time he comes into a game. Mariano Rivera leads the team in the walk category with 14% and Myers leads in the hit category with 43%.
It must be noted that Mariano Rivera is the only guy in the bullpen who truly has solid stats this year, but it must also be noted that Farnsworth’s are worse than anyone else in the ‘pen. I still don’t understand why Torre continues to call on him during these close games. Where is Edwar Ramirez? What about Brian Bruney?
% of Games Allowing a Hit or a Walk:
% of Games Allowing a Hit:
% of Games Allowing a Walk: