Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hal Steinbrenner, What Are You Waiting For?

Hey, did you hear that Joe Girardi got his own radio show?

He played an Elvis song, then, after only a minute and a half, he replaced it with a Barry Manilow song!

That's a joke. Almost as big of a joke as Girardi still being the Yankees' manager.

Last night, the Yankees began the last series of the regular-season's official, if not numerical, 1st half. The opponent was our old friends from the classic American League Eastern Division (they were in it from 1972 to 1993), now in the National League Central Division, the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jordan Montgomery started. Over the 1st 3 innings, he allowed 3 singles, no walks, and no runs. So far, so good. In the top of the 4th, he allowed a double and a home run. But in the bottom of the 4th, Ji-Man Choi hit a home run, his 2nd of the season, and that gave Montgomery and the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

Montgomery got the 1st out in the top of the 5th. then he allowed 2 singles. At this point, he had thrown 74 pitches. He was not tired. And his control was not the issue: He had still not given up a single walk.

But because Joe Girardi is an idiot who does not know how to handle a pitching staff -- I really should have that stored on a Word Document, so I can just copy & paste it, instead of typing it out at least once every game that Girardi loses -- he panicked, and pulled Montgomery, and brought in Tyler Webb.

At first, it seemed to work: Webb got a double play, and the Yankees left still on top. In the bottom of the 5th, Aaron Judge crushed a drive to center field, 432 feet. It was his 30th home run of the season, surpassing Joe DiMaggio in 1936 for the most ever by a Yankee rookie -- and we haven't yet reached the All-Star Break. It was 4-2 Yankees, and things were looking good.

Cliche Alert: Looks can be deceiving. Webb walked Ryan Braun to start the top of the 6th. Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you. Travis Shaw doubled.

On the one hand, I can't blame Girardi for removing Webb at this point. There was still a lead to protect.

But you don't protect a lead by bringing in Tyler Clippard. Unless, of course, you are Joe Girardi, who is an idiot who does not know how to handle a pitching staff. He brought Clippard in. Clippard threw a wild pitch to get Braun home, and allowed a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar to get Shaw home and tie the game.

And because Joe Girardi is an idiot who does not know how to handle a pitching staff, he left Clippard in to pitch the top of the 7th. According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN, Girardi says he stayed with Clippard because, in part, he was trying not to use Chad Green or Adam Warren.

You see, because Joe Girardi is an idiot who does not know how to handle a pitching staff, he forgot that the Yankees had the day off the day before, and thus nobody pitched; and he also forgot that, after Sunday, there's four straight days off.

Clippard got the 1st out. Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you. I really should have that stored on a Word Document, so I can just copy & paste it, instead of typing it out at least once every game that Clippard pitches. Clippard walked Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana. He got Braun to fly out. Then, and this is on Girardi, Shaw was intentionally walked, to load the bases and set up an inning-ending force play at any base.

Aguilar hit a 424-foot drive to center field. Grand slam. 8-4 Brewers.

Then, and only then, did Girardi pull Clippard, and bring in Chasen Shreve. Which is like trying to cure cancer by giving somebody a shot of malaria. Shreve faced 4 batters: Double, RBI single, walk, fielder's choice. Luis Cessa pitched the 8th and the 9th without allowing further damage. As Phil Rizzuto would have said, "But the damage is done. I tell ya, Frank Messer, this is unbelievable, it's givin' me agita."

Aside from the home runs by Choi and Judge, the Yankees only got 2 other hits: A triple by Clint Frazier and a single by Didi Gregorius. Brett Gardner actually drew 4 walks, a rare feat, and Choi and Chase Headley each drew a walk. But that was all the baserunners the Yankees got.

Brewers 9, Yankees 4. WP: Josh Hader (1-0). No save. LP: Clippard (1-5, and this was his 5th blown save).

Do I blame Clippard? No, I do not blame Clippard. It's not the dummy's fault that the ventriloquist's jokes stink.

To make matters worse, the Boston Red Sox won last night. The Yankees are now 4 1/2 games out of 1st place, though only 3 in the loss column, due to having 3 games in hand on the Sox.

The series continues this afternoon. Just in case you think it matters, the starting pitchers are scheduled to be Luis Severino for us, and Brent Suter for the Brew Crew.

Expect Severino to be just not quite brilliant enough for Girardi to remove him after (or, perhaps, during) the 6th inning, and put Clippard in again, rather than use Green or Warren. Not that I would ever use Warren, because he's almost as bad as Clippard.

Hal Steinbrenner, what are you waiting for? Fire Joe Girardi!

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