Monday, September 28, 2009

Nice bounce back from Bruney

Has anyone had a rougher season than Brian Bruney? It was hard watching a reliever so dominating in the past struggle through an injury-plagued season, only to come back and realize he had lost control of his fastball. Yankee fans have been tough on him with the booing, but his 5-out relief appearance Sunday led to an ovation that moved Bruney to tears. His outing raises an interesting question for Joe Girardi of whether Bruney should make the postseason roster. Right now, he's on the bubble and I'd like to see him duplicate his efforts before the end of the season. I think Bruney makes it if he has a couple of good outings, given how dominating he can be when he's right.

A lot will depend on how many pitchers Girardi decides to go with. The sure things are starters Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte and Chamberlain (who will likely start the first round in the bullpen). Hughes and Mo wil make up the core of the relief team. Mr. 10 Wins Alfredo Aceves and lefty Phil Coke will make the cut. It gets tricky after that so the next six games will be audition time for the other relievers. Jonathan Albaladejo should make it as long as his elbow is sound. Dave Robertson has been great for the Yankees, but he's injured right now and hasn't gotten game action since early September. I wouldn't count him out if the Yanks continue to the ALCS or World Series, but the first round is doubtful.

As someone who also dealt with a life-threatening medical condition this past year, it was heartwarming to see Ian Kennedy coming back from his surgery to pitch an inning of scoreless relief against the Sox. But it won't get him on the postseason roster, especially if Joba is already in the pen during the first round. Mark Melancon has pitched decently at times, but has had trouble with the Red Sox and Angels and the Yanks will face one of those teams in the ALCS. Marte has not pitched well this season, but might make it by virtue of being the second lefty in the bullpen. After such a dominating year, it's been disappointing to see Edwar Ramirez struggle with shoulder problems and inconsistency. I'm not a big beliver in wasting a roster spot on a long reliever so I wouldn't part either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre in that role for the postseason.

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