playoffs: Tommy Kahnle has ended Yankees’ multi-inning concerns this October

null null null Baseball NEW YORK — Joe Girardi wasn’t sure the Yankees could use Tommy Kahnle for multiple innings.The thought is laughable now as the reliever cruises through frame after frame in the postseason, but Kahnle had not had many extended outings with the Chicago White Sox when New York acquired the right-hander in July. “The one thing we weren’t quite sure about him when we got him is how much we could use him multiple innings,” Yankees manager Girardi said. "He was very successful in Chicago and we were concerned if we took him out of that type of role, would it change who he was?”MORE: Yankees' starters have been driving force in postseason The answer is no, at least not this October. Kahnle has put together a brilliant postseason, throwing 10 scoreless innings over six appearances. H

e has dazzled as a multi-inning reliever, going two or more frames in four of those games. Armed with a four-seamer that sits at 98 mph, a heavy changeup and a slider, Kahnle has managed nine strikeouts while permitting just two walks and two hits.“To be honest, I never thought I’d be able to give them extended innings, but it’s nice to show that I can do this now,” Kahnle told Sporting News. “I did it my first year when I was with the Rockies, but I haven’t been able to do it much since.”Kahnle’s most impressive showing this postseason came in Game 4 of the ALDS. With the Yankees facing elimination, he threw two innings while striking out five Indians. But his longest appearance — and most valuable — came in the wild-card game against the Twins. With New York in desperate need of a stellar bullpen performance after Luis Severino got bounced in the first, Kahnle contributed 2 1/3 innings of work, the most he has pitched in four years.He added another two innings Wednesday night, relieving Masahiro Tanaka as the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the ALCS.Kahnle’s power pitching is nothing new, but the ability to maintain it beyond an inning is to some extent. He admitted that he used to lack the proper mindset needed to be effective in such situations.“In years past I felt like I went back and I was losing my stuff and velocity was dropping,” Kahnle said. “I realized you've got to go out there and pitch. You can’t worry about other things and you've got to give the team as many outs as they can get.”MORE: Yankees hope to break ALCS trend in Game 6Kahnle journeyed beyond one inning seven times during the 2017 regular season, but he never made it past 1 2/3 innings. Five of those efforts came with Chicago, two with New York.He pitched two innings twice in 2016 and 2015, but he has gone further than that just once in his career. As a rookie with the Rockies, Kahnle threw three innings on June 13, 2014. He also threw two innings 10 times that season, the most he’s ever been extended.Having not been stretched out much since, it’s fair to call his postseason run a surprise. Almost out of the blue, Kahnle is back to prolonged performances when his team needs him most.“For some reason I used to think I was worse in the second inning,” he said, “but I basically had to get over that.”