'No Runs' part of Yanks' bullpen still holds up

Miller missed, but other arms proving worthy with Betances, Chapman

'No Runs' part of Yanks' bullpen still holds up

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees' bullpen featured a collection of elite arms last season, when Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman comprised a group that became known as "No Runs DMC." The 'pen may no longer use that snappy nickname, but the relievers have looked just as dominant.

New York's bullpen has combined to fire 13 2/3 scoreless innings over the first three games of the season, permitting seven hits while walking four and striking out 17. If this keeps up, perhaps some T-shirts should be printed to celebrate Tyler Clippard, Betances and Chapman.

"We have a chance to have a really good bullpen, probably a chance to be one of the best in the league," Clippard said. "It's just a great complement of different types of styles. I think that bodes really well for a successful bullpen when you have so many different looks."

The Yankees opened the year carrying eight relievers, as they will not need a fifth starter until April 16 against the Cardinals. Each of those eight has appeared, with Adam Warren leading the way by striking out six over 4 2/3 perfect innings.

Manager Joe Girardi said that a team can't really replace a pitcher of Miller's caliber, calling him "the elite of the elite," but the Yanks have absorbed a trio of short starts by leaning on names like Jonathan Holder, Tommy Layne, Bryan Mitchell and Chasen Shreve.

"I feel really good about it," Girardi said. "We lost a great pitcher in Andrew Miller. He's a hard guy to replace, but I feel good about the overall bullpen -- what we have, the arms that we have down there, the options that it gives me."

Betances said that Miller was "unbelievable" during his time in the Bronx, but the Yankees have other arms who can get the job done.

"You're always going to miss him," Betances said. "You're not going to be able to cover that, but I think with the guys we have, we can piece innings together when we need to. These guys know how to pitch. We'll ride with what we have."

Chapman seals the victory

Restoring Chapman to the mix boosted the Yankees' confidence, and to many, it almost seems like the flame-throwing left-hander never left. The World Series ring that he will receive from the Cubs later this year says otherwise, but Chapman said that he felt very comfortable coming back.

"I'm super happy to be back here," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I have a really good relationship with Betances and with the other guys in the bullpen. To be back and part of that bullpen feels very good. The chemistry we have is great. I'm very happy to be back."

While others in the bullpen may not approach Chapman's triple-digit velocity, the Yanks will need them all. Clippard points out that some pitchers not even on the current roster will play contributing roles, and Betances has been encouraged by what they've shown so far.

"I feel confident in the group we have. We have a lot of different weapons that we can use," Betances said. "We're just going to try to do our best to hand each other the baseball, and me hand it to Chapman to finish it off."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.