The New York Yankees are not throwing in the towel, not even to hurt the Boston Red Sox.
A strange theory is brewing around Red Sox Nation that perhaps the Yankees are purposely blowing games against the Tampa Bay Rays so that the Rays can eclipse the Saux for the American League wild card. The thought is ridiculous on many levels, namely because the Yankees have too much pride to intentionally lose to anyone and that any employee in the Yankees organization would be permanently banished for throwing any game, even if it hurts their archrivals.
I can understand why some Red Sox fans are turning to this theory. They need some kind of explanation for their pain. But what they have to understand is that Joe Girardi, while definitely pulling some of his guys back for some much-needed rest after a brutal September, hasn’t taken his foot completely off the gas. But Girardi has a very calculated plan, going so far as to remove David Robertson with two outs in the 8th inning just so Mariano Rivera could pitch to one batter tonight. The Yankees manager has already said he will not use his top relievers in Wednesday’s game so that they have two full days of rest before the playoffs start. But he did use his best relievers in a game that was easily within the Yankees’ grasp if not for a random, wild outing by Rafael Soriano, not the actions of a manager trying to throw a game.
Does Girardi care about the outcome of Wednesday’s game? No, it means nothing to him. He will get some of his regulars some at-bats and pull them. Aside from Phil Hughes, we won’t see any of the big-name Yankee pitchers on the mound tomorrow night. But that doesn’t mean Girardi is tossing in the towel on behalf of the Rays. It just means he is being smart and careful about keeping his players sharp without getting them hurt.
“It will be an exciting day for baseball tomorrow,” Girardi said.
Yes it will. And it won’t be the Yankees fault.