Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees (78-66), removed starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Jaime Garcia in the 5th inning with the Yankees leading, thus costing them the opportunity to be the winning pitcher. Starters must go at least five innings to get a win. Relief pitchers can get a win by simply showing up. In both cases a relief pitcher got a win handed to him on a silver platter after the starter pitched by far the most innings of any Yankee pitchers in those games.
Yeah, I know, kill the win. But the reality is that most baseball people still value the win awarded to a pitcher each game. Starting pitchers desperately want that win no matter what they say to not seem selfish.
Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 Yankees 5, Tampa 1
Yankees scored five runs in the 4th and led 5-1 entering the bottom of the 5th. BB, SO, single, Girardi pulled Sabathia after only 88 pitches. What? Relief pitcher David Robertson SO Longoria and Duda to end the "threat". Robertson also pitched the next two innings and got the win. But it's much likely that Robertson would have pitched only one inning.
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 Yankees 3. Tampa 2
Yankees scored three runs in the 2nd, Tampa one in the third. Yanks led 3-1 entering the bottom of the 5th. Garcia retired the first two batters, then gave up an opposite field hit. Girardi pulled him after 78 pitches, 10 fewer than Sabathia. I was shocked. Garcia was shocked. Relief pitcher Chad Green did his job and had three SO in 1.33 innings. Green got the win. Green is 5-0. Garcia is 0-2 for the Yankees.
Both moves worked but leaving the starters in the game might have worked also. And the next time Girardi pulls his starter that way, the relief pitcher may fail. Then Girardi has these problems:
- starter ticked off
- starter loses some confidence
- relief pitcher extra embarrassed
- starter may "quit" after 4 innings in subsequent starts, which would be at least understandable.
So far none of the pitchers who have been treated this way has made a big deal about it. They should. They should openly defy the manager and have it with him right on the field.
Rich Hill was unreasonably deprived of a chance for a perfect game and Micheal Pineda of a win. Both should have defied their managers. Monday, September 12, 2016
When Hill returned to the dugout after the seventh inning Dodger manager Dave Roberts told Hill that he was being removed from the game because Roberts feared that Hill was developing a blister on a finger on his pitching hand. A blister. A bleeping BLISTER.
Hill had thrown only 89 pitches so that wasn't much of a factor. Hill was removed because of fear of a blister. Hill's demeanor in the dugout suggests that he was not pleased but apparently he did not argue with Roberts. He should have.
Rich Hill should have demanded to continue pitching. Roberts showed no common sense. If Hill did develop a blister that would have made it more likely that Hill would have allowed a hit. Roberts should have let Hill pitch until he had a runner reach base, spoiling the perfect game. If Hill walked a batter, Roberts would have seemed much more reasonable if he then removed Hill even before he allowed a hit, since a mere no-hitter is not nearly as big a deal as a perfect game.
Hill should have raged at Roberts and, if still denied, stormed out and quit the team. Pitchers put up with way too much junk from tight assed managers...
Through 4 innings: Yankees 7, Rays 2
Yankee manager Joe Girardi removed starting pitcher Michael Pineda one out from qualifying for a win. What had happened? Fifth inning, Yanks leading 7-2: ground out, walk, ground ball single to 2B, ground out force at second by Tampa's best hitter, Evan Longoria. Two on, two out. Girardi popped out of the dugout to remove Pineda. Pineda exhibited muted displeasure, nothing like one of those legendary and alleged incidents of a pitcher yelling at his manager to get back in the dugout. Pineda should have done that. If Girardi still removed him, Pineda should have stormed off the mound and then out of the clubhouse and had his agent demand a trade.
If pitchers stood up to their managers, they wouldn't get jerked around in such an arbitrary manner. You may think that this is too oriented towards individual accomplishment. Let's not kid ourselves, players crave that and it's a legitimate and constructive motivation. The more a player achieves as an individual, the more he helps the team. There can be exceptions but generally this is true.