Yankees Rumors & News
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Not only did the Yankees lose yet again to the Angels for the fifth time in seven games, they were also out coached.

With the game tied 3 to 3 in the bottom of the 9th inning, Joe Girardi decided to use Damaso Marte for a 2nd inning of work. While I would not have a problem with this against a tough lefty who might have lead off the inning, this was simply not the case. Instead, the Angels were due up the ever dangerous Howie Kendrick, Gary Matthews Jr., who is hitting .226 and Mike Napoli who is hitting .224.

Somehow Marte, who is a lefty specialist or at most a one inning type of guy in the 7th or 8 inning, quickly turned into a two inning reliever. While Marte is easily capable of recording three additional outs, especially against the bottom third of the Angels lineup, this was not the right managerial decision when you have your closer, who has not pitched in three days, ready in the bullpen.

The Yankees not only needed a big win in this game to avoid a sweep, but to also prove that they can beat a team who simply has had their number since the 2002 divisional playoffs.

How can Girardi not pitch Mariano Rivera in a situation where the very talented but underrated Kendrick, who is a .322 hitter, leads off? Kendrick without even looking at stats is a right handed hitter who naturally has a better look against a left handed pitcher like Marte. Furthermore, the other two hitters in the inning are Matthews Jr. and Napoli. Matthews Jr. is a switch hitter but is hitting .211 lefty and .256 righty. Napoli on the other hand is a backup catcher hitting a measley .224.

To make matters even worse, Girardi sat in the dugout after a leadoff single by Kendrick. At this time only was Rivera beginning to warm up when he should have already been in the game to start the inning or at the very least ready at any sign of trouble.

On the contrary, just a half inning before, Angels manager Mike Scioscia used his closer Francisco Rodriquez in the top of the 9th inning to shut down the Yankees Wilson Betemit, Jason Christian, and Jason Giambi. If that move does not speak volumes to Yankee fans about how a team who has a 14 game lead in their division approached this series, nothing will. Scioscia could have used a good reliever in Scott Shields instead of burning another inning on the great arm of Rodriquez in a non save situation. However, Scioscia managed this game as if it was game 7 of the World Series. And that is what gives the Angels an edge over the Yankees. Games like this not only prepare your team to be mentally tough in big games, but more importantly give them the confidence to know that they can beat the Yankees.

In the end, there is no guarantee that if Rivera started the inning that the Yankees would have won. But at the very least they would have had a better chance rather than the one Girardi put them in on Sunday.

There are currently 11 responses to “Put This One On Joe”

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  1. 1 On August 11th, 2008, gozer said:

    On the road, tie game, 9th inning, you hope to grab a lead in the extra innings and hand the ball to your closer. That’s not a Joe Girardi thing, it’s an axiom of the game. It therefore would have made no sense to bring Mariano in to pitch the 9th. Damaso Marte has five saves this season and 36 in his career, so it’s unfair to call the guy a lefty-specialist, and frankly, he should be able to handle the bottom of the Angels’ order.

    Conversely, at home, in a tie game, in the 9th, there is no longer any possibility of a save opportunity arising for your closer. Using K-Rod in that spot wasn’t a stroke of genius by Scioscia and I don’t think it speaks volumes about anything other than that both managers played this one by the book.

  2. 2 On August 11th, 2008, Kwame Flaherty said:

    This is the problem with the modern use of the closer. The manager now makes decisions based on accumulating a stat instead of winning the game. On the road the closer should be in if possible because you don’t know if you will get another at bat. Once the game is in sudden death, the best pitcher available should be used.

  3. 3 On August 11th, 2008, gozer said:

    I don’t agree that it has to do with stats. I think it has to do with the fact that there’s no way to win a game if you don’t have a pitcher you can trust to close it out. say, mariano were to have pitched the 9th last night like K-Rod did…that means if the Yanks were to take a lead in extra-innings, damaso marte or somebody like him would be counted on to close the game. then when he implodes in spectacular fashion, everyone would be screaming about Girardi burning his closer too early.

    the yankees scored 1 run in this game’s final 8 innings. they were outscored 25-12 in this series. on the game’s final play, robinson cano looked like he was afraid to get his uniform dirty. these are the things i’d be lamenting were i a Yankees fan.

  4. 4 On August 11th, 2008, Pat Leonard said:

    Kwame, you’re exactly right! These managers are morons.

  5. 5 On August 11th, 2008, gozer said:

    you’re only prolonging your misery if you don’t have another reliever capable of getting an out. and in the 10th inning, once Mo hypothetically mowed down the bottom of the order, you’ve suddenly got the top of the order coming up for whomever’s available in the pen, attempting to save a game because the closer’s already been burned.

  6. 6 On August 11th, 2008, Helen said:

    I think we need a good first baseman that would have at least attempted to go for the ball to prevent the run to score.

  7. 7 On August 11th, 2008, kjf said:

    Gozer I’m sorry but I think you’re putting the cart before the horse. You can’t worry about “saving” a game that you aren’t winning. This speaks to the “paint by the numbers” approach to managing the end of the game. I’m sure teams have won games in extra innings without their closer available to end the game. When you are an American League team on the road in a sudden death situation,getting a save isn’t important, the win is. At that point, Giardi’s main goal should be making sure his team got another at bat. Not setting up his closer for a save situation. This really makes no sense in the American League where he doesn’t have to worry about the pitcher batting.

    We don’t know what the results would be obviously. Its playing the odds, the best chance he had of getting his guys to the plate again was to have Rivera start the 9th.

  8. 8 On August 11th, 2008, gozer said:

    you’re manufacturing an argument. it has nothing to do with getting your closer a “save” or “accumulating a stat,” and the statement that “getting a save situation isn’t important, the win is” is just nonsensical. What do you think we’re talking about? You’re on the road, you bat first, you can’t get a win unless you have a competent pitcher to nail down the game with the outcome on the line. it’s not like there was a walk-off scenario in play for the Yankees. according to the argument you’re using, your closer should be the first man out of the bullpen in a tie game because the most important factor is to preserve the tie in order to give your bats a shot in the top of the next inning. nevermind that you’re counting on the likes of jose veras and edwar ramirez to secure the games most pivotal innings. people are just grasping at straws now.

  9. 9 On August 11th, 2008, kwame said:

    They aren’t going to win unless they bat in the 10th. Rivera starting the bottom of the ninth gave them the best chance to bat in the top of the 10th. That was the heart of my argument. Of course I don’t think you should bring the closer in during a tie game in the 7th. That’s why I said “sudden death” situation. Makes no sense to save your best available pitcher for a situation that may never happen. In the NL there would have been different variables at play obviously, but in the AL I think this is pretty straight forward.

  10. 10 On August 11th, 2008, gozer said:

    There’s nothing worse than failing to hold a late inning lead – nothing! See: The New York Mets.

  11. 11 On August 13th, 2008, Rob Abruzzese said:

    I don’t see any sense in going into the 9th inning with your best reliever sitting on his butt. The 10th inning is not guaranteed and I think it is managing for statistical purposes holding him until it is a save situation.

    Never loose a game with your best reliever sitting. That’s like throwing your second best pitch 3-2.

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