DETROIT -- What the Yankees envisioned for the back end of their bullpen at the beginning of the season is far from how it looks now. But, all things considered, manager Joe Girardi can't complain.
Girardi admitted on Saturday that he's had the opportunity to see some relievers like David Phelps, Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Clay Rapada do things they never would have had the chance to do while helping keep New York in the mix in the American League East. At the same time, New York's unexpected injuries have given those relievers -- filling in for Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera -- plenty of confidence moving forward, however the bullpen shakes out over the rest of the season.
"It's just something we have to do right now," Girardi said. "We have to be a little more creative than we were before. You know that going in. It's not a surprise, what we're going to do. We're going to try to mix and match our lefties, I'm going to let Boone face some righties. That's what we're going to do."
Unlike in years past, when the bullpen for the last third of a game was was basically set in stone, Girardi has been forced into more of a chess match lately. His relievers have fared well -- Logan entered Saturday's game having made a team-high 26 appearances, while Rapada and Wade had each made 22.
Those three relievers have inherited 49 combined baserunners and allowed just seven to score.
"I think they've done a really good job," Girardi said. "We've asked them to step up not a little bit -- we've asked them to step up a lot. You lose your eighth-inning guy, you lose your ninth-inning guy and now you ask guys to give you outs later in the game. They've done a great job."