Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bruney & Marte

About two weeks ago, I took issue with Joe Girardi for giving Brian Bruney too many chances to make the postseason roster despite repeated poor performances and was not allowed to fail. Today I would like to log the opposite complaint about Damaso Marte. Despite rising to the occasion nearly every time he's been used, he hasn't been given the chance to succeed.

It's interesting that Girardi favors Bruney over Marte because they've had opposite trajectories to their seasons. Bruney started off well but up until getting 5 outs against the Red Sox on Sunday, he had been pretty bad since coming off the DL. Marte on the other hand, was poor at the beginning of the year but has been perfect - with the exception of one game - since rejoining the team. You'd think the guy with the better track record recently would get the benefit of the doubt, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Marte has pitched in 11 games since coming off the DL and made it through 10 of them without allowing a run. The one bad outing he had was against the Orioles on September 11th, costing Andy Pettitte the chance at a win on the night when Jeter broke Gehrig's hit record. Even on that night, when he gave up 4 runs, he didn't give up an extra base hit but was instead allowed three singles and a walk and Jonathan Albaladejo let one of his inherited runners score. Needless to say, he wasn't pitching under the most favorable conditions that night either.

Aside from that outing, he's allowed only two hits and one walk over 6 1/3 innings. In his career, Marte has held righties to .728 OPS, which is pretty respectable when you consider that Phil Coke has help RHB to a .695 OPS and he is asked by Girardi to face righties at a higher frequency.

I understand it was a meaningless game, but last night, Girardi pulled Chad Gaudin with no one on base so he could bring in Marte to face Alex Gordon. Although his numbers are pretty terrible this year, Gordon is a talented left handed hitter, so I understand that Girardi was trying to give Marte some reps against lefties in preparation for the postseason.

As soon as he came back up to the Big League club, Girardi publicly announced that Marte would be used as a lefty match-up specialist. I don't understand what good it does to pigeonhole a reliever with a good track record who has never been just a LOOGY.

My contention is that this is the time to see if Marte can get be trusted to get right handed batters out. In fact, Marte has 1187 against RHB compared to only 850 against LHB, indicating that he hasn't been insulated from right handed bats at other points in his career. Coke has only 121 plate appearances against RHB compared to 159 against lefties.

Marte is not Mike Myers. He's not an inverted Chad Bradford. He's not the pitching Freddy Guzman. Yet I know that's exactly how Girardi is going to use him in the postseason.

For whatever reason, I like Damaso Marte. I liked him when the Yankees acquired him and a big part of the reason was that he was a solid lefty reliever who could get guys on either side of the plate out. I'm guessing that's what the Yankees organization saw when they signed him to a three year deal for $12M during the offseason.

I don't think the unidentified injury that kept him stashed away in exile for the better part of the regular season has destroyed his ability to get RHB out. I hope that over the next 5 games, he gets a chance to pitch a few full innings, because there's a pretty good chance that we are going to need him to do that at some point during the postseason because of a shortened outing by a starer or an extra innings contest. Brain Bruney figures to get that chance. So should Marte.

No comments:

Post a Comment