Does Joe Torre abuse the bullpen because the bullpen sucks, or does the bullpen suck because Joe Torre abuses the bullpen?
We will likely never know the answer, but either way, the Yankees have a problem. Last night in Arlington, Torre inserted Kyle Farnsworth into the 8th inning of a 4-1 game, despite the fact that Farnsworth pitched an inning in Game 1 of the doubleheader. This is a pitcher who cannot pitch more than one inning in an appearance, and who cannot appear on back-to-back days, yet Torre brought him in to pitch twice in one day. Farnsy promptly gave up a home run to Michael Young before emerging unscathed from the rest of the inning.
The Yankees are severely lacking in reliable relievers these days, beyond the walking reminder of our own mortality, Mariano Rivera. Long gone are the Rivera/Wetteland or Mendoza/Stanton/Nelson/Rivera years, and the franchise has been unable to piece together a great bullpen since.
Farnsworth pitches like Steve Karsay post-injury. Scott Proctor's arm might fall off at any moment. Mike Myers is painfully ineffective. Brian Bruney is wild. Luis Vizcaino looks like he can't get it done in the American League. Sean Henn is fine but not a door-closer. All are overworked.
Chris Britton inexplicably languishes in Scranton despite being one of the Orioles' only solid relievers last year. Once again, Brian Cashman does not appear to have done his due diligence when building a bullpen. Once again, Joe Torre wildly mismanages the few assets he does have.
Meanwhile, The Yankees rode solid starting pitching from Pettitte and the Moose to a double-header sweep of Texas. But nine runs in two games in Arlington, one against Mike Wood, is unacceptable, and further proof that the lineup is incredibly flat right now without a red-hot ARod serving as anchor.
Going into the weekend, another sweep is probably too much to ask for, especially since Matt DeSalvo will start Sunday, the Yanks' tenth starting pitcher of the young season. But two-of-three is very doable, and very necessary.