Even though the Yankees lost 7-4 on Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t the big story. Joe Girardi is known for his unconventional methods when managing a baseball game. But Girardi took a page out of the National League handbook and used Bryan Mitchell somewhere other than his primary position.
The Yankees right hander took the mound for the ninth inning, but in the 10th Girardi took Chris Carter out of the game and slotted Mitchell as the first baseman, allowing closer Aroldis Chapman to take the mound.
So why did Girardi make the move?
Well, the Yankees only had two pitchers remaining in the bullpen, Adam Warren and Tommy Layne. Warren was completely unavailable after throwing 36 pitches on Saturday, and Girardi felt Layne didn’t have much in the tank after throwing 27 pitches in the same game.
“I really didn’t want to use Tommy Layne too much. I knew I didn’t have him much,” Girardi said. “Adam I wasn’t going to use. It was the only way to use Chappy, I felt, to give us a chance in the bottom of the inning to win the game. Then I would go back to Mitchell. It was the only way I could do it.”
Because of the move, the DH was terminated, meaning Chapman would’ve had an at-bat the next inning. The Yankees used Greg Bird to replace Chapman.
“I’ve got a strikeout pitcher on the mound who I feel good about,” Girardi said. “This way, the chances of him handling the ball are probably not too good. Now, if you’ve got a ground-ball pitcher and a bunch of left-handers coming up, it’s probably a different story.”
So what did Mitchell think of the move?
“It was definitely fun,” Mitchell said. “It was something that was new to me, going from pitching to the field and back to pitching. You never know what to expect. That’s part of the game, so you’ve got to be ready to do whatever.”