Why did Bryan Mitchell play first base?

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.”

This entry was posted in Yankees News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Why did Bryan Mitchell play first base?

  1. Jerry says:

    Girardi did what he had to do. It's certainly not a novel idea, it's been done before. My question is why burn Warren so much the day before in a laugher? I hate to second guess, but that made this move happen.

  2. It was certainly a creative move. Risky, but he didn't have many choices. It was better than unnecessarily burning out a starter.

  3. tom says:

    I am sure Girardi won't do this in any playoff game but Yankees are paying Chapman as a superior reliever. In that case, Mitchell should continue pitching into 11th where Chapman would face the vital part of the Oriole lineup.

  4. Dan M says:

    This was definitely the most creative move I can remember Girardi remember making in his tenure as the skipper. Overall I liked the thought process but Mitchell went WAAAY to long in between throwing pitches to be effective going back out again regardless of if he threw between innings or not. This is one of those moves where if the Yankees win people would say "wow what a great unique move by Girardi" but because they lost we are all debating if the move was right or wrong. Honestly I knew when the Yankees failed to do anything with bases loaded in the 10th the game was over. In reality if they were just able to push across the one run they needed we wouldn't be having this conversation and Girardi's plan would have ended at a walk-off win and Chapman having been the winning pitcher. Obviously that didn't happen and the rest is history.

    • It seems like the only options were use Mitchell at 1st base or use Severino in extra innings and then Luis Cessa gets the start tonight. I think, considering those (main) options that Girardi made the right move. The only other realistic option would be to not use Chapman at all, but then you lose without using your best reliever. It seems like one of those situations where there is downside to every option.

  5. Jerry says:

    You guys keep talking about Girardi and this creative move to put Mitchell at 1st. Even Delia said he borrowed the move from a National league Handbook. This move has been done several times in the past and even teams I've coached ( high school age) have used it. The thing I like about Girardi is the fact he knows the rules better than the umpires. Smart move, but not original.

Comments are closed.