Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Girardi's bad moves cost Yankees the game

Even though his offense has disappeared, Joe Girardi must take responsibility for the ugly loss that has put the New York Yankees on the brink of elimination.

Having secured a solid outing through five innings from the unreliable AJ Burnett, Girardi should have been ready to remove him from the game at the first sign of trouble. And that came right away in the 6th inning with yet another leadoff single. But in what was one of the worst moves I've ever seen from Girardi, the Yankees manager intentionally walked a batter to get to Bengie Molina and left Burnett in to face the Texas Rangers catcher.

This is not a second guess. As it was happening, I was yelling at the television wondering what the hell Girardi was doing. From watching Burnett all year, it was obvious that Girardi could not put an extra runner on base when his pitcher has been so erratic on the mound. The only thing that would have made it a decent move was if Girardi was going to lift AJ after the walk. But for whatever reason, he didn't do it.

What is so puzzling about Girardi's failure to pull Burnett is that he was so quick to take pitchers out in the regular season. He pulled Javier Vazquez and Dustin Moseley one out from victory in consecutive games. There was so much more at stake last night. So why didn't he pull the trigger? It can't be that he had that much more confidence in AJ Burnett. If that was the case, Burnett's start wouldn't have been as big an issue as it was heading into the game.

Girardi relied on his usual comments about liking the matchup and the way his pitcher was throwing the ball. He also mentioned that he would have been second guessed if he took out Burnett and the pitcher he brought in gave up some runs. Nobody would have faulted Girardi for counting his blessings and getting AJ out of there. He got all he could have hoped for out of Burnett to that point and should have pulled him with the lead still intact. His failure to do so may cost the Yankees their season.

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