Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t waste any time in pissing off his detractors yesterday when he ordered an intentional walk of Sean Rodriguez, a lifetime .230 hitter, with first base open to load the bases and pitch to Carlos Pena, with a career .487 slugging percentage. The move backfired as Pena hit a grand slam to put the Yankees down 4-0.
After the game, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said that Girardi made the right call.
“I knew I had some success off (Pena), but like I said, it’s a lefty so I knew if I make the right pitches then we get out of it,” CC told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “… It was a lefty, so I felt like it was the right move.”
Rodriguez hits well against lefties, a .363 lifetime OBP and a career .787 OPS, while CC has done well in the past against Pena. However many fans questioned it due to the fact that CC obviously didn’t have his normal command that day and forcing him to load the bases put even more pressure on him. He fell behind in the count and and was forced to throw one right down the middle that Pena crushed. Many just felt like pulling such a move so early in the game was unnecessary.