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The Curious Case of Michael King [2021 Season in Review]

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Coming into 2021, Michael King was not necessarily envisioned to be a big part of the Yankees’ bullpen. A 2016 Miami Marlins draftee, King came into spring training with just 28.2 major league innings under his belt, all with the Yankees and mostly in the shortened 2020 season.  While his 2021 season, like much of the Yankees’ season, was up and down, King nonetheless showed growth and promise that the Yankees should hope to build on in 2022.

King made the major league roster out of spring training and immediately caught eyes – in his first appearance of the season on April 4, he tossed six scoreless innings in relief of Domingo German in a 3-1 loss to Toronto.  Efficient and effective in that outing, he used only 68 pitches to get through the fourth through ninth innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.  

He was optioned to the Alternate Site (RIP Alternate Site) after that outing, and after each of the two additional appearances he made for the major league club in April in more typical middle-relief roles.  Despite logging frequent flyer miles throughout the early part of the season, King continued to impress, throwing 11 scoreless innings before giving up his first run of the season on May 13.  

Game 148: Finally, a laugher

A win that didn’t elevate my heart rate? Well I’ll be. The Yankees toppled Cleveland in the Bronx, 8-0. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their name, hitting five homers, while Corey Kluber delivered a gem in his first good start since returning from his shoulder injury.

Game 81: The season is half over, and it’s not all fine

Welp. The win probability graph says it all. This one was scoreless through 4 before things unraveled in the 5th. The Yankees were being no-hit through 5 against Taijuan Walker on a day where Jordan Montgomery couldn’t complete 5 innings and the bullpen turned this one into a laugher. So much for responding back after Wednesday night/Thursday morning’s debacle. To the takeaways:

Thoughts as Voit and Kluber head to the injured list

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The Yankees have a double-header this afternoon after yesterday’s washout, and the team will make a handful of roster moves beforehand. A couple will be replacements for Luke Voit and Corey Kluber, who are headed to the injured list. Another will be the 27th man for today’s two games. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on where the Yankees go from here in light of yesterday’s news:

Yankees place Darren O’Day on 10-day IL, recall Michael King

This isn’t the news anyone wants to wake up to. Especially not after an extremely satisfying win last night. Darren O’Day, a key offseason acquisition to the team’s bullpen who’s pitched well, has a rotator cuff strain and is on the injured list. Michael King is back to replace him on the roster.

O’Day has a 3.00 ERA in 9 innings this season, and up until his last two appearances, had been extremely effective. He gave up a run in each of his last two appearances, which perhaps portended something wasn’t quite right. Hopefully this isn’t anything too serious for the 38 year-old righty, but rotator cuff injuries are definitely concerning.

King’s back, and deservedly so. He’s been the tough luck odd man out on the Scranton shuttle a few times already this season in spite of tossing 11 scoreless frames thus far.

We’ll likely have more information on O’Day’s prognosis once Aaron Boone speaks to the media prior to this afternoon’s game.

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