Very few managers enjoy the luxuries that Joe Girardi has. And that goes beyond the biggest payroll in the game.
In many instances, especially in close games, it means having a bullpen that when Girardi decides to mix and match usually gets the result even with Mariano Rivera and David Robertson currently on the disabled list.
Last night, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Rafael Soriano combined to get the final eight outs of a 4-2 victory over the Mets.
“With the group that we have, we’re able to go get outs,” Wade said. “We kind of have the luxury of our lefties can get righties and righties can get lefties out. There’s not a lot of bullpens that can say that and for us to have that group down there and we can mix and match as well as we do, I think it’s a huge advantage for us.”
The bullpen likely would have come into to play anyway, but it might not have had a one-run lead to protect had Mark Teixeira not hit a two-run home run with two outs in the sixth.
Once Teixeira hit his 11th home run, that’s when the bullpen with the 2.79 earned run average (48 runs, 154 2/3 innings) sprang into action to relieve Phil Hughes, who allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“It’s been huge,” Hughes said. “Not having [Robertson] and Mo, the guys have stepped into roles they weren’t doing at the beginning of the year. It’s been a big boost for us.”
“Those guys have really stepped up for us,” Girardi said. “Our bullpen was really mapped out, seventh, eighth, ninth inning and now it’s not mapped out.”
First up was Logan, who came on after Hughes gave up a one-out single to Josh Thole.
Logan’s responsibility was to face consecutive lefties in Omar Quintanilla and Kirk Nieuwenheis. He only faced Quintanilla, because after getting the Met shortstop to fly out, Terry Collins pinch hit Scott Hairston and his .349 average off lefties.
That sent Girardi out of the dugout to bring in Wade. Wade was a strike away from getting Hairston, but allowed a single that put runners at first and third with David Wright looming in the on-deck circle and potentially coming up with the game tied or even the Mets ahead.
Wade did not let that happen. He kept Wright in the on-deck circle by throwing five straight fastballs to Andres Torres and getting the last one to land in left fielder Raul Ibanez’s glove.
“We’re just going out there whenever we’re asked to,” Wade said. “Joe’s bringing us in situations for us to have the most success whether that situation coming in is facing a righty-righty or lefty-lefty, whatever the matchup at the time is, our job is to come in and get outs when we need them.”
Wade eventually faced Wright leading off the eighth. He avoided having Wright hit another home run by getting the third baseman on a harmless groundout to third. Then Girardi made another move, taking advantage of having a second lefty in Rapada to face lefties Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and possibly Ike Davis.
“We all take pride in getting outs and when certain guys go down, the other guys got to pick it up,” Rapada said. “We’re all getting opportunities -- me, [Cody Eppley] and Boonie.”
Rapada never faced Davis because he retired Duda and Murphy on soft grounders.
Bobby Parnell gave up a solo home runin the bottom of the inning to Curtis Granderson, who was the first lefty to hit a home run off the reliever.
That gave Girardi a slightly more comfortable lead with his next move, bringing in Soriano to close out his first Subway Series game. Soriano did so, though he put two on.
Girardi then let Collins make the final move, which was bringing in rookie Jordany Valdespin to pinch hit for Hairston. Valdespin, who hit a three-run home run in Philadelphia off Jonathan Papelbon last month, could not do it again and flied out to left field to complete another flawless night for the Yankee bullpen.
“Soriano’s been real good on right-handers and Jordanny late in the game has come through with some big hits,” Collins said. “I took a shot.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.