Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Did Girardi Throw Away the AL East by Starting Warren?


Nathan Eovaldi was injured and unavailable last night. CC Sabathia had pitched the day before. Michael Pineda, the day before that. Masahiro Tanaka, the day before that, and was injured anyway.

So here were Joe Girardi's options for last night's starting pitcher:

1. Start Luis Severino a day earlier than he'd planned. He would have gone on 4 days' rest. You know, like a normal pitcher who pitches for a manager with a clue.

2. Start a September callup, someone who's never started in the major leagues before. Big risk, but think of the confidence boost it would give him if he turned out to be the winning pitcher.

3. Start Adam Warren.

Unfortunately, Joe Girardi does not have a clue, and so he started Warren.

And, quite possibly, blew the American League Eastern Division title.

I guess Esmil Rogers wasn't available.

*

Here's how Warren started the game: Allowed a single to Ben Revere, hit Josh Donaldson with a pitch (unintentionally, I presume, since his control isn't good enough to hit the guy on purpose, and it would have been a stupid move anyway, akin to... oh, I don't know, starting Adam Warren in a game this big), allowed an RBI single to Jose Bautista, threw a wild pitch to advance the runners, allowed an RBI groundout to Edwin Encarnacion, allowed an RBI double to Justin Smoak.

That's 5 batters, 20 pitches, 1 out... 3 runs.

Game essentially over, season possibly over -- or, at least, condemned to be over on October 3, since Girardi might actually be clueless enough to start Warren in the Wild Card play-in game!

Newsday's headline said, "Adam Warren no match for David Price." Price? Warren wasn't even a match for James Pazos last night!

Girardi finally replaced Warren with Pazos in the 4th inning. Ironically, he replaced Pazos with Caleb Cotham in the 5th, even though Pazos had faced only 2 batters and gotten them both out. Cotham faced 4 batters and got them all out, but in the 6th, Girardi replaced him with Chasen Shreve. What the hell?

Shreve allowed the next 3 batters to reach base (single, walk, walk) before getting out of the inning. Then he put Branden Pinder in for the 7th, and he had nothing (as usual), and he loaded the bases before Girardi pulled him for Andrew Bailey, who got 3 outs, but 1 was a sacrifice fly for a 4th Jays run.

The Yankees got just 4 baserunners off David Price in the 1st 7 innings, before rallying in the 8th. Didi Gregorius led off with a walk, and Dustin Ackley and Jacoby Ellsbury followed with singles. But reliever Brett Cecil then struck out the side to end the threat.

With 2 out in the 9th, Greg Bird hit a home run, his 9th of the season. But the Yankees could get no closer. Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2. WP: Price (17-5). SV: Roberto Osuna (17). LP: Warren (6-7).

The Yankees fell to 3 1/2 games behind the Jays, with only 13 to play, including the next 2 in Toronto.

Tonight, against Marco Estrada, Luis Severino starts for the Yankees, pitching with more pressure on him than any New York pitcher has faced at age 21 since Dwight Gooden was 20, 30 years ago. The last time a Yankee pitcher faced this kind of pressure at 21? I don't think there's ever been one.

Of course, there's not that much pressure on him: If he loses, no one will blame him for losing the AL East title, they'll blame Girardi. But if he wins, and we do somehow manage to win the Division, think of what it will mean for him.

Who knows, he might even save Girardi's job.

Wait, that may not be a good thing...

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