Yankees relievers have underperformed this season.
In 2012, the New York Yankees bullpen was seventh in Major League Baseball in keeping a lead. They recorded 87 holds and a 3.43 ERA.
This season, the team ranks 28th in ERA (4.98) and 29th in holds (three).
What has happened?
Among the biggest disappointments in the early going has been Boone Logan. In spite of the fact that manager Joe Girardi has used him the most out of the pen (he has called on Logan in eight of the team's 19 games), Logan has allowed a .571 batting average (13.50 ERA) when pitching with runners in scoring position.
Logan's 3.38 ERA is deceiving in that he has performed best with no one on base (0.00 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in that situation). Unfortunately, relievers are often brought in to put an end to their opponent's rally, and that has not been Logan's forte to this point in the season.
The other "poster child" for the Yankees' disappointing bullpen is David Phelps. Coming into 2013, he was being considered for a starting spot in the rotation. When he didn't make it the thought was that in him the team would have a dependable long-reliever and spot-starter.
Three weeks into the season, Phelps has a 6.23 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. Hitters are batting .288 against him, including a .412 average with the bases empty and .667 with runners at the corners. He holds a 9.00 ERA with RISP.
While Logan and Phelps aren't the only underperformers out of the bullpen (only David Robertson, Mariano Rivera and Adam Warren hold ERAs under 3.00), they represent a distinct drop-off for a Yankees pitching staff that was supposed to be one of the team's strengths.
Unless this crew can turn things around, it will be a long disappointing season for the team in the Bronx.