When the New York Yankees traded for a Pittsburgh Pirates reliever with an ERA of around five, everyone was scratching their heads.
Fast forward a few months later, and it all makes sense: Clay Holmes just needed a few mechanical and approach tweaks to unleash his potential.
That potential is what we see today: an utterly dominant reliever capable of going almost two months without allowing a deserved run.
“Clay Holmes has thrown 22 straight scoreless innings in his last 20 appearances. Savage,” Talkin’ Yanks tweeted.
Clay Holmes has thrown 22 straight scoreless innings in his last 20 appearances. Wild pic.twitter.com/S7iAt82lxN
— Talkin Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 25, 2022
It is, indeed, wild.
The Yankees bullpen entered the season as one of the best and deepest units in baseball.
And that has largely been the case…until recently, at least.
We’ll have to see how the band reacts to losing Chad Green (Operation Tommy John), Aroldis Chapman (Achilles injury, should be back soon) and having unexpectedly struggling stars such as Jonathan Loaisiga and Miguel Castro.
Holmes was the best reliever in the best bullpen
Even Michael King, who started the season on fire, has looked vulnerable in his recent outings.
But the one constant has been Holmes.
The right-handed sliding lead specialist has a 0.40 ERA and 1.49 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) in 22.2 innings so far.
He only gave up two steps and knocked out 23 opponents.
Holmes gave up more walks than earned runs, which is just amazing.
The only earned run he dropped out of in 2022 came on April 9.
In a few weeks, if he manages to avoid earned runs, he will have gone two months without being scored.
His lead-slider combo is hitting death, and now that Chapman is on the 15-day disabled list, he’s seen more high-leverage work.