Saturday, June 28, 2008
Best relief pitcher in fifth inning.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi has lived down to my expectations: no more imagination than any other MLB manager. In yesterday's Yankee loss (15-6 ouch!) to the Mets (double ouch!!) Girardi had a chance to follow my guidelines for doing something DIFFERENT from what all the other BORING MLB managers would do: use his best relief pitcher to save the game, not by facing an arbitrary set of batters in the ninth inning, IF his team was leading, but by using him in the middle of the game. The Yankee starter, Dan Giese, was through at least one batter before Girardi finally relieved him with the Yankees LEADING 4-3 in the fifth with the bases loaded, no outs and the Mets best batters, Beltran and Delgado (set a Met team record with nine RBI) coming up. That's a save situation. It certainly calls for your best relief pitcher. For the Yankees he is Mariano Rivera. Girardi brought in Edwar Ramirez, who immediately allowed all three inherited runners to score. Mets took a 6-4 lead and then broke it open with five in the sixth inning. Girardi was waiting until the ninth inning to use Rivera. This was such an obvious occasion to break with the conventional tactics but it apparently never even crossed Girardi's mind. Keeping the game close might have put more pressure on the Met relief pitchers and given the Yankees a chance to battle back. Instead Girardi wasted a golden opportunity to distinguish himself.