That's how I feel every time Joe Girardi calls for Brian Bruney out of the bullpen. Everyone else in the 'pen seems to have the innings they work determined by their performance in recent outings. Except Brian Bruney.
As Matt mentioned in the recap, Bruney has been pulled from his last 8 outings in the middle of an inning. It's not becase Girardi is getting all match up happy and using him as a ROOGY, either. Bruney has allowed at least one baserunner in 7 of those outings including six walks. Ten of the 22 batters he's faced have reached base. He's thrown just 50% of his pitches for strikes and only 4 of the outs he's recorded over that time have come either on the ground or via strikeout.
But for some reason, Girardi keeps trotting him out there in big spots, four of the eight times with a lead of two runs or fewer, in the 8th inning or later.
In a way, it makes sense that Girardi is giving him every chance to succeed by putting him into tight games, hoping that he'll come around. At the same time though, by pulling him mid-inning every time, it's clear that Girardi isn't giving him a chance to really fail, either. That saftey net is okay when the rosters are expanded, but when they contract back to 25 for the postseason, you can't afford to have someone that unreliable pitching in any sort of important situation if you are going to keep him on such a short leash.
It seems that Joe G's goal in running Bruney out again and again is trying to prep him for the playoffs regardless of the results. Nevermind that if David Roberston or Damaso Marte had a stretch anything like this, they would have been relegated to mop of duty and been an afterthought when October rolled around.
So what is it with Girardi and Bruney? I guess it's the fact that Bruney had a 1.83 ERA in 34 1/3 IP last year for him. That's fantastic, but that was a year ago, he still walked a batter every other inning and he didn't pitch at any point between April and August. That's not a very big sample size.
This year he has one 12 1/3 inning stretch in April when he only gave up 2 runs and walked 4 while striking out 16. He briefly appeared to back on track in the middle of August. But he also misled the team in regards to the severity of the injury he suffered back in April only to go back on the DL after one inning in the middle of May. His ERA this year is 4.36 and FIP is 5.33. He's just not very good.
The unfortunate reality of Brian Bruney is that the good stretches he's had are the anomalies. He's a pitcher who has walked 6.4/9IP and with an 4.35 ERA throughout his career, which is almost exactly what he's done this year. He's only 27 years old, so perhaps he could improve down the line, and I'm not suggesting they give up on him completely.
I just don't want to see the guy on the postseason roster, barring an injury to someone else. He's no better than 12th on my pitching depth chart at the moment.