It has been unconventional, but it has gotten the job done.

The question now is how long the Yankees’ unsettled bullpen can sustain life without a set closer.

The Yankees didn’t have to worry too often about that during their recent struggles, because there weren’t many save attempts up for grabs, but now that they have won three-straight close games, manager Aaron Boone has had to get creative.

Sunday that meant stretching Lou Trivino for 2 ¹/₃ innings to close out a win over the Blue Jays. On Monday, Jonathan Loaisiga looked like his old self with a perfect 1 ¹/₃ innings to finish a win over the Mets. And on Tuesday, Wandy Peralta put out Clarke Schmidt’s ninth-inning fire by getting the final out for his second save of the year.

Wandy Peralta celebrates with Jose Trevino after locking down the save in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Mets.
Corey Sipkin

“We’ll keep working to figure it out,” Boone said before the Yankees flew to Oakland for a four-game series with the Athletics that will begin Thursday. “The last couple days, we’ve been a little bit up against it. … I think it’s important to know a lot of really good things are happening down there with a handful of guys that I feel like we’re building some really quality, important roles for them. “We’re going to get Clay Holmes back on this trip. We’re going to get [Scott] Effross back at some point. So for as much as we’re trying to figure it out a little bit right now and find these roles, I’m very optimistic.”

Holmes was struggling before he went on the injured list with back spasms, but the All-Star reclaiming his closer role when healthy (he is eligible to be activated Monday) would be the simplest way to give the bullpen some order.

Aroldis Chapman has again lost his chance to pitch in high-leverage spots, but the Yankees could get a boost if Loaisiga can find consistency. Trivino has also been solid (13 baserunners, but only one earned run over nine innings since arriving from Oakland) and Ron Marinaccio has continued a dominant run, albeit without yet getting a save opportunity.

While Frankie Montas is not in line to face his former team this weekend (unless the Yankees use the day off Wednesday to skip a starter), JP Sears is scheduled to square off against Gerrit Cole on Friday. Sears, whom the Yankees traded to Oakland as part of the package for Montas, is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA over his first three starts with the Athletics.

Zack Britton (UCL surgery) started a rehab assignment Wednesday with Low-A Tampa, throwing 15 pitches in two-thirds of an inning and striking out one.


The Yankees will open next season by hosting the Giants on March 30 in The Bronx. The new balanced schedule — every team will play each other in at least one series — has the Yankees making interleague visits to the Reds, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Rockies, Marlins, Braves and Pirates. Unlike this year, the Yankees will play on Memorial Day and July 4 again.


The Yankees will open next season by playing host to the Giants on March 30 in The Bronx. The new balanced schedule — every team will play each other in at least one series — has the Yankees making interleague visits to the Reds, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Rockies, Marlins, Braves and Pirates. Unlike this year, the Yankees will play on Memorial Day and July 4 again.

 

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