ATLANTA -- Before Wednesday night's game with the Braves, Joe Girardi was talking about how well his bullpen has performed in the absence of Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, and stumbled when referring to one of the nondescript right-handers who has been holding down the fort for him.
"Cody, uh, Eppler,'' he said, inadvertently combining the names of Cody Eppley, young relief pitcher, and Billy Eppler, young assistant general manager.
New York Yankees
I doubt Girardi will make that mistake again, especially after Eppley, not Eppler, made the pitch of the night in the situation of the game, a sinker that Martin Prado rolled over, right at Derek Jeter, to start an inning-ending double play that snuffed out the Braves' last threat of the night.
It was Eppley's 17th appearance of the season and certainly his most important.
"He did a tremendous job," Girardi said. "We've put these guys in situations that they probably didn't expect to be in this year, but they've gotten it done."
The makeshift pen has done an exemplary job. Not only Eppley, but Boone Logan, the former left-handed specialist who has now been asked to get right-handers out, too; and Clay Rapada, the erstwhile "second lefty'' in the bullpen who has now replaced Logan as the lefty specialist; and, of course, Rafael Soriano, who got the save in the Yankees' 3-2 win, his 11th in 12 opportunities.
"I think we compete out there in the bullpen," Eppley said. "It’s a good group out there. We got a lot of good arms. I think we feed off each other and the way we’ve been able to pitch makes each of us want to do better than the previous guy."
"It's a testament to our front office and scouting staff that these guys have been able to step up for us," Girardi said. "If a guy goes on the waiver wire, we're not afraid to claim him if they think they're going to help at some point. Cash (GM Brian Cashman) and his staff work very hard at that, Cash and Billy."
That would be Eppler, not Eppley.