As one of the leaders in the Yankees’ bullpen, the closer’s perspective carries significant weight among fans and pundits alike. When he speaks, people listen, and his positive outlook on the team’s trajectory has sparked hope and excitement among the Yankees faithful.

Clay Holmes

After a playoff-less 2023 season marked the club’s 14th consecutive year without an AL Championship, the New York Yankees came into 2024 with a lot to prove. With a record of 23-13, it certainly appears things are going to plan, and it’s in no small part due to the unstoppable performance of closer Clay Holmes.

This season, Holmes has posted a perfect 0.00 ERA through 16.1 innings with a WHIP of 0.92 and 18 strikeouts. He’s tied with Ryan Helsley (St. Louis Cardinals) and Kyle Finnegan (Washington Nationals) to lead MLB in saves, having recording 11 saves in 12 opportunities.

“I feel like things [will] keep trending in a good direction,” Holmes told the NY Post’s Greg Joyce on May 1 after recording his 10th save of the season.

Aaron Boone Says Holmes is ‘Really Sharp’ and ‘Off to a Great Start’
According to Joyce, Holmes’ fine work definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed by Yankees manager Aaron Boone. On May 1, Boone brought Holmes out of the bullpen in the hopes of a five-out save against the Baltimore Orioles, even though it meant the Yankees may need to use another reliever in the ninth inning. His decision paid off.

“That’s the game right there,” Boone told Joyce. “And if the eighth inning got long and we had to go with someone else in the ninth, so be it. We’re at the top of their order, game’s on the line with a couple guys out there. You know with Clay, it’s one pitch away if he puts you on the ground properly. But yeah, I felt like that was the game there and we’ll worry about the ninth when we get there.”

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“[Holmes] was really sharp,” Boone continued. “Obviously Clay’s off to a great start this year and throwing the ball incredibly well. Tonight, coming in first and second there, top of their order for a five-out save, I thought his stuff was really sharp — slider and sinker had a little extra to it tonight, but also commanding it really well.”

Yankees’ Bullpen Leads MLB
As of May 6, the Yankees’ bullpen leads MLB with a combined 2.27 ERA, holding their opponents at a .197 batting average. While Holmes has established himself as arguably the most effective closer in MLB, he’s certainly not the only Yankees reliever having a strong season — in fact, no reliever on the team has an ERA over 5.00, and Caleb Ferguson is the only one with an ERA over 4.00.

The Yankees’ bullpen saw very little movement over the offseason, and considering they led MLB with a 3.34 ERA in 619 innings last year, there was no need to fix what wasn’t broken. Still, injuries have meant some shuffling has had to be done.

After three scoreless appearances, Jonathan Loáisiga suffered a torn UCL and subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his 2024 campaign. On April 19, the bullpen took another hit when Nick Burdi found himself on the IL with right hip inflammation. Tommy Kahnle started the season on the IL after suffering a shoulder injury, though his return could come in the next few weeks.

Especially considering the injuries they’ve had to overcome this season, the Yankees’ relievers have proven themselves to be one of the top bullpens in MLB. With Kahnle slated to return in the next few series, they may get even better as the season continues.


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