Thursday, August 14, 2014

Joe Girardi Does NOT Know How to Handle Pitchers

So in a game that the Yankees absolutely had to win in order to still have a shot at the American League Eastern Division title, Joe Girardi sends Michael Pineda out against the Baltimore Orioles.

Pineda had just come off the long-term Disabled List, and was going right into the fire: Camden Yards is a bandbox where home runs come cheap.

(Funny, but the people who complain that Yankee Stadium allows too many homers by the home team never make that complain about Camden Yards when the Yankees are the visiting team.)

Supposedly, Pineda was on an 85-pitch limit, due to his injury. Understandable.

For 5 innings, he threw 67 pitches, 48 of them strikes -- nearly 72 percent. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and no walks. Very effective. And, with a home run by Francisco Cervelli (his 2nd of the season), he had a 2-1 lead. Surely, worthy of at least a 6th inning.

Girardi sent Dellin Betances out to pitch the 6th. He left Betances in for the 7th. Understandable. He left Betances in for the 8th.

Now, if Betances had pitched only the 7th and the 8th, it would have been logical. But Girardi put him in an inning too early.

Betances was fine in the 6th. And he was fine in the 7th.

Now, before I mention what happened in the 8th, let me say that blaming Betances for what happened in it is stupid. The Yankees should have scored more than 2 runs in 8 innings in Camden Yards.

And I don't blame Girardi for leaving Betances in for a 3rd inning. A major league pitcher should be able to throw at least 3 innings when he's had the day before off (rainout) and will have the day after off (travel day).

But in said 8th inning, Michael Kay said on YES, "Girardi doesn't trust Adam Warren in this situation."

As Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) would say on NCIS, "Ya think, DiNozzo?"

Actually, Girardi was ejected in the 7th inning, for arguing an interference call. But his replacement, bench coach Tony Pena (a 5-time All-Star catcher who managed the Kansas City Royals for 4 years), was clearly acting on Girardi's orders.

Betances got the 1st out in the 8th, but then he hung a breaking ball to Jonathan Schoop, and Schoop hung it in the left-field stands to tie the game.

And that's when, rather than trust Betances further, Pena (acting on Girardi's orders) took Betances out, and brought in Shawn Kelley.

A, Betances has been the Yankees' best pitcher all season long. Allowing 1 run in 2 1/3 innings is not bad at all. With days off as bookends, he should have been allowed to finish the inning.

B, If you're not going to trust Warren, why would you trust Kelley?

C, I had the sneaking suspicion that, if Boone Logan were still on the roster, Pena (again, acting on Girardi's orders) would have brought him in.

Kelley got the 2nd out. But then he allowed a 2-strike single to Nick Markakis, then he walked Chris Davis. And then he threw an absolute meatball to Adam Jones, and it was a home run from the moment the ball left Kelley's hand.

On my Twitter feed, the word "FUCK" (mostly in capital letters) showed up about a dozen times.

As with Logan, Kelley might be a decent person; but, as with Logan, as a Yankee, he's a bum.

Naturally, the Yankees went down in order in the 9th, batting as if they didn't give a damn, as if the season was over. Well, the Division race is certainly over now.

Orioles 5, Yankees 2. WP: Darren O'Day (4-1). SV: Zach Britton (25). LP: Kelley (2-4).

The Yankees are now 8 games out of 1st place with 41 games to go. They would have to gain at least 1 game out of every 5. Possible, but not likely.

The Yankees are 3 1/2 games out of the 2nd AL Wild Card. Plenty of time, and not nearly as much ground to make up.

But this is not the first game that Girardi has blown with bad pitching selections. Hell, it's not even the first such game this week.

Clearly, this game, with a returning and effective Pineda, shows that it doesn't matter how well the starters pitch: Girardi will find a way to fuck it up with his pitching management.

And the reason that he's in a position to do that is that general manager Brian Cashman gambled on guys who can't hit anymore.

Girardi and Cashman both need to go. I would, however, be willing to give Cashman a reprieve, and the benefit of the doubt in the 2014-15 off-season, if he gets rid of Girardi now.

Because Joe Girardi does not know how to handle pitchers.


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