Adam Warren has been the Yankees' fixer all season, and there he was again Thursday night when they needed enough pitching to get over the finish line and clinch a postseason berth.
CC Sabathia had given his all through five innings and held a lead. Now the Yankees needed to get 12 more Red Sox out for the victory, but setup men Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances and closer Andrew Miller had all pitched more than an inning the night before.
Warren came to the rescue with three scoreless innings of relief to help the Yankees triumph, 4-1.
Of course he did.
When the Yankees were desperate for a starter at the beginning of the season, they asked him to move from the bullpen, and he became one of the team's most consistent starters, going 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA.
With his innings climbing and Ivan Nova returning from the disabled list, Warren was shifted back to the bullpen and made numerous comebacks possible by keeping the team close when starters faltered. Then he returned to the rotation when injuries to Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi hamstrung the team.
As a starter, he is 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA. As a reliever, he has pitched 351/3 innings to a 2.51 ERA.
"Every really good club that I've been on has seemed to have a guy like Adam Warren, who is able to do so many things for you as a pitcher,'' said manager Joe Girardi, who brought up the name of a key member of the Joe Torre championship teams. "I first saw it in Ramiro Mendoza, the way that he could spot start and do those things."
"His value has been as big as any pitcher we have in that room. Look at what he did tonight. He was a big reason we won that game because he was able to give us three innings on a night when I didn't want to use Miller and I wasn't going to use Wilson. He did the job. He's invaluable.''
Said Warren, "I remember in spring training thinking I want to do whatever it takes to help this team win ballgames. I feel like I have been that guy, back and forth."
"And getting the opportunities to help this team has been a great experience for me. I don't worry about starting or relieving."Girardi said there is a chance Warren could be part of the postseason rotation if the club wins the AL wild-card game and advances to the AL Division Series.
Warren didn't expect to be pitching Thursday, but when he arrived he was told to be ready to come out of the bullpen. He did what he always does: prepare. He allowed one hit and one walk and struck out three.
"I was just focused on getting through one hitter, one inning, and then they said 'can you go another?' and I said 'yes,'" he said. "And then 'can you go another?' And I said 'yes.' I was prepared to do whatever they needed."
But that's no surprise at this point. It's exactly what he's been doing all season.