Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Girardi costs Yankees game with Hughes hook

Phil Hughes technically was the loser in last night’s game, but his manager’s obsession with numbers and matchups is what really cost the New York Yankees a victory.

For some reason, Joe Girardi did not see what the rest of us saw: that despite having a bases-loaded situation, Hughes was still dealing. Instead of giving the righty one more batter after a fierce strikeout for the second out of the 7th inning, Girardi removed Hughes in favor of lefty Boone Logan, who promptly gave up the lead for good in a game the Yankees had in their grasp. What was even more disappointing about the loss is that the New York Yankees missed an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and those pesky Baltimore Orioles.

Hughes, trying to be a diplomat and a good teammate, did not place the blame on his manager or criticize a lousy decision. But his disappointment and frustration were obvious from the moment he took a seat on the bench before Boone’s implosion through his post-game press conference, when he twice said that he didn't make decisions and just pitches to who he is told to. Hughes, I’m sure, believes he earned the right to clean up that 7th inning mess and he’s absolutely right (this isn't a second guess by the way, I started screaming at my television the minute I saw Girardi walking out toward the mound).

Girardi has a lot of strengths as a manager, but one of his weaknesses is his inability to read his players. He should have given Hughes, who has more victories than any Yankee pitcher this season, the opportunity to work out of the jam. Showing that kind of confidence in your players is a key part of being a good manager. It can’t be all about statistics and I think Girardi too often loses himself in the numbers game instead of trusting his players.

Phil Hughes didn’t cost the Yankees a game last night. Joe Girardi did. 

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