First Pitch: Bullpen holding down fort

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
7:00
AM ET
It's not exactly the most imposing group of arms ever assembled, but the Yankees' bullpen continues to get the job done.

As injuries have ravaged the pen, it's safe to say this isn't the group of relievers Joe Girardi expected to be turning to for closing out games in June. Look at what happened Saturday: The quartet of Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Rafael Soriano closed out the Mets in a 4-2 win.

While Soriano and Logan had defined roles coming into the season, Wade and Rapada were guys expected to be pitching in games with a margin for error -- not in the seventh and eighth innings of a tight game against the Mets. That's where Soriano and the injured David Robertson would be used, leading up to Mariano Rivera, who is out for the rest of the season.

While losing two arms of that caliber would be crushing for most teams, the Yankees have handled the injuries fine so far. Since Robertson went on the disabled list retroactive to May 14, there isn't one game that you can pinpoint the blame solely on the bullpen. In fact, of the Yankees' 10 losses since then, just two have come against the relievers, and both of them were on walk-offs. Those kind of losses happen from time to time during the course of the year.

It's helped that Soriano has been automatic as the closer since taking over for Rivera and Robertson, but he's not the only one pitching admirably. It has been a collective effort. When players go down, others have to pick up the slack, and the Yankees' bullpen has been doing that.

This doesn't mean it will hold up for the whole year. Perhaps, at some point in the future, the bullpen will struggle without Rivera in the ninth and with others having to step into bigger roles.

At the moment, though, and as they showed on Saturday night, the maligned bullpen continues to do the job and help close out wins. And it should only help the bullpen become stronger and deeper if Robertson can return at the end of next week.

UP NOW: Andrew Marchand writes about the Yankees clicking on all cylinders and going for the sweep against the Mets on Sunday. I wrote about Phil Hughes' string of good starts.

IN THE HOLE: Just like yesterday, Adam Rubin, Marchand and I will be in the Bronx and have you covered in the clubhouses.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which reliever has impressed you the most in the absence of Rivera and Robertson?

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .288
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 64
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .787
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135