Joe Girardi’s Knucklehead Move

Joe Girardi, Yankees Manager, Mastermind

The season’s underway and I already get to vent because the Yankees lost their first game that they should have won, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as it were. Sure, we’re only five games into the campaign. If the season were a single day, to compare the long season to the Joycean epic Ulysses, we’d be on the copyright page. But a loss is a loss, even in the beginning of April (or Ulysses), when the veterans are still rubbing the winter’s sleep out of their eyes. To set the scene, the Yanks were beating up on the Twins. Again. They beat this team like a drum, for reasons unknown. And the Twins don’t come back to New York till…2012. That’s right. This is their only regular-season visit to the unfriendly confines of Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’s best pitcher, CC Sabathia, looked great. I turned on the game somewhere in the middle as CC retired his eleventh consecutive Twinkee. So what does “thinking” manager Joe Girardi do? He takes CC out of the game after seven innings. This bear of a man, six-foot-seven and 300 pounds, could not come out for the eighth? It’s the pitch count stoopid! (To be slightly less unfair, Girardi is not alone in his obsession with pitch counts [and loose-leaf binders of arcane match-up stats, and printouts, and and and…], especially early in the season. But this doesn’t make such a tin-ear approach right.) In comes Rafael Soriano. Now he has been used a lot. Soriano couldn’t find the plate. Next guy comes in, three runners on, Ron Gardenhire starts the merry-go-round, and a pop hit (not the kind The Beatles made) on a full count means everyone scores. The dispirited Yankees went on to lose in the tenth inning. Derek Jeter made the final out, I can’t even remember how, that’s how disgusted I was: I could barely listen to John Sterling on the radio at this point. My friend, photographer-mediator-turned-Honda-salesman Andy, went nuts (via e-mail). By the way, the so-called sorry Mets have a better record than their storied Big Brothers here in New York, doing it the hard way: on the road in Miami and Philadelphia.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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