Saturday, May 20, 2017
Thomson Reads Girardi's Binder, Screws Up Exactly Like Girardi Would've
Manager Joe Girardi was absent, attending his daughter's high school graduation. Bench coach Rob Thomson managed in his absence, for the 4th time. He was previously 1-2, and joked, "Got to get back to .500 today."
So, no Girardi means no screwup with the bullpen, right? Wrong.
The Yankees and Rays exchanged single runs in the 1st inning. The Yankees picked up another in the 3rd. Luis Severino pitched very well through the 1st 5 innings: 1 run, 5 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts.
The obvious move would have been to let him pitch the 6th inning.
But Thomson managed the game the way Girardi would, and didn't let Sevy pitch the 6th inning. Well, it must have been because he was over the 100-pitch mark already, right? Wrong: He'd thrown 89 pitches -- 59 of them for strikes. This was a stupid move, and it came back to bite Thomson, the Yankees, and Yankee Fans in the ass.
Jonathan Holder, to his credit, pitched a scoreless 6th inning. If Thomson had let Sevy pitch the 6th and Holder the 7th, the Yankees might have won.
Instead, Thomson brought Adam Warren in to pitch the 7th, and this was a stupid decision. Then again, so was trading Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for Warren, who'd already failed as a Yankee once before, for 3 prospects who may never make the major leagues. (Don't tell me about Gleyber Torres: He's only batting .283 in Double-A ball, and just got benched for not hustling on a play. He is far from ready for Triple-A, let alone the majors.)
Warren loaded the bases with nobody out, and allowed a run on a sacrifice fly. Then he struck a batter out. Then, Thomson pulled him for Chasen Shreve. Why? Because Warren is righthanded, Shreve is lefthanded, and the next batter was Colby Rasmus, a lefthanded hitter. This was a typical Girardi by-the-book, or, rather, by-the-binder, move.
How did Rays manager Kevin Cash -- a backup catcher on the Yankees in 2009, therefore he played under Girardi and Thomson, but was released before that epic postseason -- respond to this? By sending Rickie Weeks up to pinch-hit. Weeks is righthanded. Gee, who couldn't have seen this move coming? Apparently, 3 people: Thomson, Girardi, and whoever put out that damn binder! Weeks doubled to give the Rays a 4-2 lead. One of those runs was charged to Warren, giving him an ERA for the game of 40.48.
In the top of the 8th, Brett Gardner walked, and Matt Holliday hit a home run to tie the game, his 8th of the season. The Yankees had a chance again. But Thomson brought Tyler Clippard in to pitch the bottom of the 8th, and he walked 2 batters. Cliche alert: Walks can kill you. Evan Longoria singled home what turned out to be the winning run.
Had Thomson done his duty and burned the damn binder, and managed with his head and his eyes, he would have left Severino in for at least the 6th inning, maybe the 7th; let Holder pitch maybe the 7th, definitely the 8th; and then let Dellin Betances close the game out in the 9th, and the Yankees probably would have won 4-1. Instead, Rays 5, Yankees 4. WP: Danny Farquhar (2-1). SV: Alex Colome (11). LP: Clippard (0-2).
The series continues this afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka starts against Matt Andriese. But before the game starts, burn the binder. Do it now, before playing another game.