Before Yankee fans kidnap Joe Girardi and plunder his home, I think we need to stop and take a look at what Joe Girardi does well:
- Throughout the season, despite his tendency for making a frustrating number of pitching changes, Girardi consistently put his relievers in a position to succeed and kept all of them at a reasonable workload.
- Whenever the Yankees have been down throughout the year, they come back. I don’t know a good way to find a stat for this, but the Yankees always seem to play their best after their opponent does something. It’s almost like a boxing fight: they want to take your best shot and then they’ll counter. They do it in individual games: once the Yanks went down 4-3 yesterday and Brett Gardner got thrown out, that could have been it – instead Jorge Posada hit another timely homer; Alex Rodriguez has tied three different postseason games already, twice in the last inning to do so. This happened in the regular season too – let’s not forget all the pie that went around. Even in the series season against the Red Sox, the 0-8 start easily could have demoralized the Yankees, but it didn’t. What does this have to do with Girardi? Well, you have to give him some credit for all that. The Joe Torre teams of 2005-2007 just seemed to give up once they were down. The 2009 Yankees have a lot of fight and hopefully that will continue to be the case in game 4.
- Consider this: you’re the manager of the Yankees. You have some of the best scouts in the game. They’ve told you: don’t let David Robertson face Howie Kendrick late in the game. Use Alfredo Aceves. What do you do?
- If Joe Torre, or most other managers for that matter, are managing for the Yankees yesterday, the Yanks lose in 10, as Mariano Rivera sits in the dugout.
So who else could you blame for what happened in Game 3?
I love Nick Swisher. I’ve made that perfectly clear. But why has he suddenly transformed into Pedro Cerrano from Major League? Throw him anything off-speed and he has no chance.
Speaking of not being able to handle a breaking pitch. Melky has been consistently swinging at pitches that bounce off the plate. I don’t like making knee-jerk reactions, but you have to consider starting Brett Gardner. Why else do they have Freddie Guzman on roster, if not to be the pinch runner when Gardner starts? The Yankees really could have used Eric Hinske yesterday, by the way.
Tex has been making some amazing plays in the field, so he gets a bit of a pass. But at the end of the day, he’s still the number 3 hitter and shouldn’t look baffled at the plate.
While Cano has had a few singles and been much better than the other guys I just listed, it still looks like he’s in “try to pull everything mode.” It’s a mighty big field out there, Robby; I’d suggest using all of it.
I said before the series that I thought Hughes looked sharper in the ALDS even if the numbers didn’t say so and I definitely feel vindicated now in doing so (though I wish I didn’t). I’m not sure if he’s out of steam, but Joba just doesn’t have it right now. His fastball is 95 but straight and if he can’t hit the outside corner with it, he’s a sitting duck.
At the end of the day, the Yanks are still up 2-1 and have a chance today to make everyone forget about Game 3 pretty quickly. Hopefully tomorrow no one is second guessing Girardi’s decision to go to CC on short rest.