Does it matter who pitches the eighth inning?
by Glenn Giangrande
The developing Phil Hughes\Brian Bruney eighth inning saga should be irrelevant. Someone get the media to take the pedal off the gas!
Joe Girardi sent the press into a tizzy on Friday by simply having Hughes record the final two outs in the second-to-last inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Blue Jays. Surely that must mean Bruney is finished in that role,
Why should it matter to anyone outside of the Yankees clubhouse who gets outs in specific innings other than the ninth? Call me when there’s a change at closer and Mariano Rivera is wrestled from his throne by Father Time. In a perfect baseball world, bullpens would be interchangeable, with relievers having the capacity to succeed in any situation, perhaps with the exception of long relief since pitchers who generally throw in the late innings tend not to be stretched out for that kind of work.
Bruney is clearly going through a rough patch. Heading into the July 4th matinee with Toronto, he had allowed five walks in his previous four appearances after giving up none over his previous 11. The three hits he surrendered versus the Mariners on June 30th almost doubled his season total. Should the fact that Girardi made a common sense decision and used his most effective reliever to get a couple of big outs in the 8th be treated as a major story?
Hughes. Bruney. Aceves. Coke. Robertson. Marte, wherever he is and whenever he returns. Whoever is throwing the best should get the late inning chances, and the press shouldn’t treat every appearance as if the pitcher was moving a mountain.