April 14th, 2013

April 14 – Happy Birthday Kyle Farnsworth

When I see the name Kyle Farnsworth, I associate it with a pitcher who had nasty closer-like stuff but lacked a closer’s mentality. Brian Cashman paid Farnsworth a lot of money after the 2005 season ($17 million over three years) to replace Flash Gordon as the new Yankee bridge to Mariano Rivera. The right hander had pitched his first six big league seasons as a member of the Chicago Cub bullpen. In 2005 he was traded to the Tigers. He made just 16 appearances in Detroit and was then traded to the Braves just before the 2005 inter-league trading deadline expired. He became Bobby Cox’s closer in Atlanta and during the last two months of the ’05 season, Farnsworth pitched the best baseball of his life. He saved 10 games, struck out 32 guys in 27 innings and gave up less than two earned runs per nine innings pitched, helping the Braves hold off the Marlins and win the NL East division race. But in Game 4 of that year’s NLDS, Farnsworth was called in to protect a 6-1 lead in the eighth inning against the Astros and gave up a grand slam to Lance Berkman and a solo shot an inning later and the Braves lost the game and the series in the 18th inning.

I remember watching that game. I’m sure it was a performance Farnsworth would love to forget and Brian Cashman must have forgot it when he paid all that money to bring this guy to the Bronx. He then became an enigma for Joe Torre. Torre was a great Manager but he did have his struggles developing working relationships with certain players and Farnsworth was one of them. In his first year in pinstripes, the pitcher struggled to establish a rhythm. He’d pitch lights out baseball for a stretch and then he’d get hit hard for a week or two. It was clear Torre did not trust his stuff and it became clear that Farnsworth resented that when the pitcher started talking about his Manager’s lack of faith in him to the New York sports press.

Ironically, it was Joba Chamberlain who effectively ended Farnsworth’s career in New York. When Joba was brought up in 2007 and pitched brilliantly as Mo’s set-up man, Farnsworth found himself buried even deeper in that Yankee bullpen. I call it ironic because Joba’s meltdown in the 2007 postseason’s “Bug” game at Jacobs Field seemed to knock his career off stride in the same way Farnsworth’s was thrown off kilter by his disastrous performance against the Astro’s two seasons earlier.

When both Jorge Posada and Jose Molina went down with injuries in the first half of the 2008 season, the Yankees traded Farnsworth to the Tigers for Ivan Rodriguez. Kyle was born in Wichita in 1976. Another Yankee who shares Farnsworth’s April 14th birthday is this hero from New York’s 2000 season.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2006 NYY 3 6 .333 4.36 72 0 24 0 0 6 66.0 62 34 32 8 28 75 1.364
2007 NYY 2 1 .667 4.80 64 0 11 0 0 0 60.0 60 35 32 9 27 48 1.450
2008 NYY 1 2 .333 3.65 45 0 6 0 0 1 44.1 43 18 18 11 17 43 1.353
16 Yrs 43 63 .406 4.22 868 26 280 1 1 55 969.1 920 496 455 130 399 951 1.361
CHC (6 yrs) 22 37 .373 4.78 343 26 88 1 1 4 478.2 468 281 254 75 224 467 1.446
TBR (3 yrs) 8 7 .533 3.54 136 0 69 0 0 25 114.1 104 47 45 10 33 95 1.198
NYY (3 yrs) 6 9 .400 4.33 181 0 41 0 0 7 170.1 165 87 82 28 72 166 1.391
KCR (2 yrs) 4 5 .444 3.40 78 0 27 0 0 0 82.0 83 35 31 5 26 78 1.329
ATL (2 yrs) 0 2 .000 3.42 49 0 24 0 0 10 47.1 30 18 18 6 14 57 0.930
DET (2 yrs) 2 2 .500 3.53 62 0 21 0 0 6 58.2 56 26 23 5 25 73 1.381
NYM (1 yr) 0 0 0.96 10 0 3 0 0 1 9.1 8 1 1 0 2 6 1.071
PIT (1 yr) 1 1 .500 1.04 9 0 7 0 0 2 8.2 6 1 1 1 3 9 1.038
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2014.