Scott Proctor has pitched in 18 of the Yankees' 37 games this season, throwing a stunning 26 innings. At this rate, he is on track for 113 innings on the year.
Farnsworth and Rivera have also both pitched a decent amount too. This season echos of the QuanGorMo days, where Torre blew out three relievers by September, leaving the Red Sox to come back in the postseason against an exausted Yankee bullpen.
The blame does not rest with Joe Torre. Torre has made some dumb decisions, but he isn't at fault as much as the front office is here.
The Yankee bullpen consists of:
Mariano Rivera/Kyle Farnsworth/Scott Proctor
Scott Erickson/Aaron Small.
The top three right handers in Pro-Farn-Mo are all pitching pretty well (though Mo and Farnsworth could pitch better, but it's too early to worry at this point), and are being used in all the Yankee close wins. Mike Myers is a 40-inning pre season guy, pitching to one batter at a time. Ron Villone is an average lefty who handles same-side batters pretty well but is exposed against right-handers (although, unlike Myers, he doesn't make them all look like Barry Bonds).
Those five pitchers are fine. However, the bottom two are not. They are the Yankees' long relievers. As demonstrated tonight, sometimes a starter-like appearance is neccessary out of the bullpen. Thing is, we don't need two pitchers for that. Only one of Aaron Small or Scott Erickson really needs to be in this bullpen.
So, we have a big bullpen with limited options. Let's take a scenario. 7th inning, Yankees on the mound with a two run lead. The opposing batters align R-L-R-S-R, and the Yankee starter is done. Who do you bring in? Torre certainly cannot bring in Erickson or Small. He would have trouble bringing in Myers, because he would only see one left handed batter. Villone isn't a great option, because he also would only see one left handed batter. Proctor or Farnsworth are his only options.
The Yankee front office cannot afford to have both Myers and two long relievers in the bullpen. If we have a couple of big blow outs, former starter Ron Villone can fill in. Otherwise, the Yankees need an effective right handed batter to take the load off the big three.
I've written plenty about our stacked bullpen in Columbus. Colter Bean, Jose Veras, and Mark Corey combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings today, striking out five, walking one, and allowing just two hits. One of these guys (or Mendoza or Bergman) should be up to lend a hand over Erickson.
Tanyon Sturtze was pitching like crazy in 2005 through May. My faint memory thinks that he had a 27 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio while allowing just three runs all month. However, he was also on track to pick something like 140 innings. Let's not repeat that again.
Octavio Dotel will be back relatively soon. Until then, Proctor needs some aid.