Sunday, April 1, 2018
And You Thought the Girardi Era Was Over. April Fool!
Sonny Gray started the finale of the Yankees' season-opening 4-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. For 4 innings, he was okay, giving up just 1 run on 7 hits, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts.
But new manager Aaron Boone saw that he'd thrown 89 pitches (albeit 53 of them for strikes), and took him out. What the hell?
Did Girardi leave the binder behind? Or was the problem never actually Girardi, but general manager Brian Cashman? Does Cashman insist that all his managers use a goddamned pitch count?
At first, it looked like it might not matter. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 3rd, the Yankees got 4 runs, on a Didi Gregorius double, a Neil Walker single, and a Brandon Drury home run. I became (as far as I know) the 1st Yankee Fan on Twitter to say that Aaron, Brandon and Giancarlo Stanton were "Judge, Drury and Executioner."
The Yankees' 4-1 lead held into the bottom of the 7th, as Chad Green pitched 2 scoreless innings. But then, Boone made the kind of mistake that Girardi would have made, and took a 2nd pitcher out of the game too soon. He brought Tommy Kahnle in to pitch the 7th, and he gave up a 2-run homer to Justin Smoak. 4-3 New York.
Kahnle couldn't finish the 7th, so Boone brought David Robertson in. In the bottom of the 8th, Robertson loaded the bases, and Smoak came up again, and hit another home run. A grand slam.
In a span of 2 innings, Boone's Bullpen Blunders (I may have coined a phrase there) turned a 4-1 Yankees lead into a 7-4 Blue Jays win.
UPDATE: Looks like Yanks Go Yard thought it up at the same time that I did.
To make matters even more embarrassing, the winning pitcher for the Jays was Tyler Clippard, who spectacularly failed in 2 different run-throughs with the Yankees, but has succeeded with every one of his other teams. Seung-Hwan Oh got his 1st save of the season for the Jays. Robertson was the losing pitcher (0-1), but this loss was all on Boone -- or on whoever ordered him to keep a pitch count, probably Cashman.
The Yankees come home at 2-2. Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind getting a split in Toronto against those pesky Blue Jays. It's the way we lost those 2 games.
I really thought that no longer having Girardi as manager meant we wouldn't have such bullpen stupidity.
Gray should have been left in for the 5th. Then Green could have pitched the 6th and the 7th, and Kahnle, still having a 4-1 lead, could have pitched the 8th and the 9th. Better yet, Gray could have pitched the 1st 7, which would have meant a total of around 115 to 120 pitches, which should not be a big deal for a major league pitcher. Then Green could have pitched the 8th and the 9th, and the Yankees would have won 4-1.
Tomorrow is the home opener, at 1:05 PM, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Jordan Montgomery starts for us, and Rays manager Kevin Cash remains undecided as of this writing. To guard against a rainout (or even a snowout, which current forecasts show is possible), Tuesday is an off-day. Then, on Wednesday, at 1:05 PM, it's Luis Severino for us, Chris Archer for them. Then the Baltimore Orioles come in for a 4-game series that begins on Thursday.