The Yankees lost their seventh straight game Tuesday and once again the main culprit was Tyler Clippard.
After the Yankees clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, Clippard immediately coughed up a home run to Cameron Maybin and then allowed a couple more hard hits before being removed by Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who said the right-hander "had another tough night."
Clippard was ultimately charged with three runs on three hits, marking the fourth time in eight June appearances in which he has allowed a run. Clippard has been touched up for three home runs this month.
In my view, the time has come for Clippard to be shifted to another role in the bullpen. Whether that is permanent or not is not relevant. It simply has to happen.
Girardi indicated Tuesday that it's something the Yankees will have to consider as they assess the situation.
"There's things that we'll look at. This is obviously the [game] that he's given up the most (runs); he's given up a run here and there," Girardi said. "But tonight they seemed to be on everything."
Batters have been on virtually any pitch Clippard has tossed this month, yet Girardi believes the issues with Clippard will eventually cease.
"Clip's had too much success; these guys (the other relievers) have had too much success for this to continue, Girardi said. "But, right now, it's a struggle, and we've got to get Clip back."
The best way to do that is by immediately placing Clippard in lower leverage situations. The Yankees cannot afford to continue to trot Clippard out to the hill in the seventh inning of a tight ballgame considering his recent meltdowns and the fact that other parts of the team's game have been suffered as well.
For his part, Clippard admitted his recent issues have been "super frustrating" especially within the confines of the team's overall performance, but refused to believe that pitching in lower leverage situations would help his production.
"Those are the situations I have always pitched in my career, that's what I'm used to. Nothing is going to change one way or the other as far as my approach or what I'm doing out there, Clippard said. "So would (pitching in lower leverage situations) help? Probably not."
Girardi prefers to have defined bullpen roles, but in this instance, he may need to find loyalty in another reliever. Clippard's comments to stick in a familiar role can be respected, but Girardi cannot let comfort get in the way any longer. On that, Girardi mentioned others could get an opportunity to step up.
"We're going to get Adam (Warren) back, who can share that load too, Girardi said. "We might have to look at some different things as we move forward."
Warren is on the disabled list, but there are young relievers who have pitched well enough to get a shot at some high-leverage situations until the veteran returns. Chad Green has been quite good as a two-pitch reliever and Chasen Shreve seems to have reverted back to the hurler he was for much of the 2015 season. The time is now to try to figure out if the answer to create a bridge to Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman is in house or if the club will need to invest in a reliever via trade.
Clippard stressed that despite his troubles, he feels he remains the choice as the bridge.
"Baseball is a fickle game. When you don't get the results, you tend to second-guess and it is up to me to take a level-headed assessment of the results," Clippard said. "(I need) to make sure I'm doing the right things out there and not get away from the things I know I can do. And that's what I'm going to do tomorrow."
If Clippard does take the mound Wednesday, it cannot be with a win hanging in the balance.