Joe Girardi said he “felt like we had to stay away from some guys tonight”. Dave Eiland, apparently being a good soldier, stated in a matter of fact manner, “sometimes you lose the battle to win the war”.
The excuses were overflowing from the Yankees clubhouse after a demoralizing 1-0 defeat in 11 innings, but in reality, nothing really needed to be said. The extensive mismanagement that permeated the Texas series had carried over to the first place showdown in Tampa, causing the Yankees to lose three games in the standings and bringing into question the organization’s commitment to winning the division.
Let’s assume that the bullpen really did need a rest. Isn’t that an indictment of how Girardi handled it in Texas? As detailed in this blog’s game summaries for the Friday and Saturday losses, Girardi exhibited a quick hook with pitchers capable of giving length and an overreliance on short relievers. Apparently, that strategy not only cost the Yankees those games, but last night’s as well. Of course, one might be wondering why Joba Chamberlain, who has thrown only four innings in the entire month of September and had only pitched once over the previous four days, was unavailable. Well, Girardi refused to explain why during the post game, angrily snapping at reporters who endeavored to find out.
Although both Robertson and Chamberlain claim to be healthy and allegedly will be available for tonight’s game, let’s again assume they needed a rest. Why then was Robertson warming at the start of the ninth inning? Did Girardi not realize he needed a rest until that point? Perhaps he couldn’t get loose? All of this information would be important know, but Girardi has seemingly returned to the cloak and dagger style that caused so much friction during his first year as manager. In any event, the depleted bullpen does make you wonder why Girardi would burn Logan for only one batter, especially considered all the lefties at Maddon’s disposal, and remove Wood after only throwing 11 pitches? These questions need to be asked too.
Adding further irony to the proceedings, the Yankees decided to use Nick Swisher, who is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee today, and Brett Gardner, who received a cortisone shot in his right thumb before yesterday’s game. For a team living to fight another day, how much sense does it make to have two vital offensive cogs risk further injury?
The mixed message being sent from Girardi and his coaching staff can be interpreted in many ways, but they sure make it easy to infer that no priority is being placed on winning the division. One can only wonder how the Boss would have reacted to such indifference, especially considering where last night’s game was played.
The worst part of how Girardi handled last night’s game is it completely overshadowed an absolutely outstanding performance by both David Price and C.C. Sabathia. Not only did both men step up for their teams in a big spot, but they also padded their Cy Young resumes. Although King Felix may have the numbers that look best on paper, there is something to be said for the daily pressure and competition faced by Sabathia and Price as their respective teams battle it out in the AL East.
Although the Yankees continued to struggle on offense, there is no shame in being shutdown by the likes of Price, Soriano and Benoit. What was embarrassing, however, was how they squandered one of their better scoring attempts. With two outs in the 10th, Gardner, who had come on to run for Lance Berkman, stole second to put himself in scoring position for Austin Kearns. Not satisfied, Gardner then attempted to steal third on the next pitch, but Benoit wheeled to second instead of going home. The play ended with Gardner being tagged out at third to end the inning.
After the game, Gardner eschewed excuses and apologized for his gaffe, saying, “I screwed up. I take full responsibility”. The Yankees manager would have been wise to do the same.
Top-10 Games By A Yankees Starter, Ranked by Game Score
|CC Sabathia||9/13/2010||TBR||L 0-1||8||2||0||2||9||119||85|
|CC Sabathia||9/2/2010||OAK||W 5-0||8||1||0||3||5||95||82|
|Phil Hughes||4/21/2010||OAK||W 3-1||7.1||1||1||2||10||101||80|
|CC Sabathia||4/10/2010||TBR||W 10-0||7.2||1||0||2||5||111||80|
|A.J. Burnett||4/29/2010||BAL||W 4-0||8||3||0||1||4||116||79|
|CC Sabathia||6/20/2010||NYM||W 4-0||8||4||0||2||6||100||78|
|Javier Vazquez||7/10/2010||SEA||L 1-4||7||3||0||2||7||117||76|
|CC Sabathia||8/22/2010||SEA||W 10-0||6||3||0||0||8||76||74|
|CC Sabathia||6/25/2010||LAD||W 2-1||8||4||1||3||7||115||74|
|Javier Vazquez||5/21/2010||NYM||W 2-1||6||1||0||2||6||70||74|