Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gin Rummy Girardi Throws Great Tanaka Start Away

The Yankees started a 3-game series with the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium last night. After the 2 worst starts of his career, Masahiro Tanaka really needed to show the Yankees his previous ace form.

He did. In the 1st 7 innings, he allowed a double and 3 singles, but no walks and no runs, striking out 13. If this were a postseason start, it would be legend.

The problem was, the Yankees didn't get any runs off A's starter Sean Manaea, either. They wasted a leadoff walk by Brett Gardner in the 1st inning, an Austin Romine double in the 3rd, singles by Aaron Judge in the 4th and the 7th, and an Aaron Hicks single in the 6th.

Joe Girardi trusted Tanaka to begin the top of the 8th. I guess we should give him some small, very small, amount of credit for that. Tanaka got his 14th strikeout.

Then he allowed a single. And, instead of allowing him to work out if it, Girardi saw this single, checked Tanaka's pitch count, saw that it had reached 111, panicked, and pulled him, and brought in Tyler Clippard.

This was a stupid thing to do. Clippard pitched with, to borrow the words of M*A*S*H's Colonel Potter, all the efficiency of a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest: Fielder's choice, walk, single, single. 2-0 A's.

The Yankees got nothing in the bottom of the 8th. Girardi sent Jonathan Holder out for the top of the 9th. His 1st 2 batters were Trevor Plouffe, who singled, and Stephen Vogt, who hit a 400-foot home run. At 2-0, the game was still within reach. At 4-0, the Yankees were unlikely to come back.

Hicks led off the bottom of the 9th by drawing a walk, and there was hope. But Holliday flew out. Starlin Castro singled, and Judge walked, loading the bases with 1 out. Didi Gregorius was up. A home run could tie it.

He got a run home with a sacrifice fly, but Gary Sanchez popped up to end the game. A's 4, Yankees 1. WP: Manaea (3-3). No save. LP: Tanaka (5-4).

Stop telling me Girardi does well with what he has: He doesn't. Forget poker: He's playing gin rummy, discarding good cards, and losing because of it.

The series continues this afternoon. CC Sabathia starts against Jharel Cotton.

You know what would be nice? If CC were to pitch well this afternoon, if the Yankees got a sufficient number of runs, and if Joe Girardi trusted his starter and didn't throw another game away with stupid pitching changes.

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