"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Yankee Panky: Expert Texpert Choking Smoker …

The talk over the past four days of the World Series has been starting pitching, or rather, the managers’ decisions on who to take the hill. For Game 4, Charlie Manuel was excoriated for selecting Joe Blanton over Cliff Lee on short rest. When the Yankees took the 3-1 lead, the Philly media all but blamed Manuel, seemingly forgetting that Blanton pitched well enough to win, and save for a Brad Lidge meltdown, the series might have been tied at that point.

At the same time, the choice of Joe Girardi to start AJ Burnett was being put under the microscope, run through a centrifuge, and measured by any other number of scientific devices. “Why start Burnett on short rest?” The experts on MLB Network claimed. “With the lineup shaking out, Melky Cabrera being out, Jose Molina catching, this favors the Phillies,” to paraphrase Harold Reynolds. “Chad Gaudin can give five innings and then make it a bullpen game,” said Mitch Williams.

Tim McCarver, pleasantly old school, lauded Girardi’s choice to stick with three starters.

The most sane MLBN analysis came from Dan Plesac, who noted that the Yankees didn’t have a fourth starter as an option due to the way they (mis)handled Joba Chamberlain during the second half of the regular season. Thus, Girardi’s options were limited.

But let’s backtrack a bit, knowing what we know now from Game 5: Burnett was awful, lasting 2+ innings, throwing 53 pitches, walking four, hitting one, and allowing four earned runs. Most notably, he choked in the first inning, immediately giving back the 1-0 lead he was handed.

The following analysis was not given by the “experts”:

Burnett was a better pitcher at home this season than on the road. During the regular season, his ERA was more than a run lower at home. He also allowed 17 fewer hits, 15 fewer runs, struck out 13 more batters and his batting average against was 55 points lower. That trend has held true in the playoffs as well. In his Game 2 starts against the Twins, Angels and Phillies, he allowed just four runs in 19.1 innings with 19 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.86. His only road start, in Anaheim, was the “Bad AJ”: 6 IP, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. That would have been sound reasoning to start him in Game 6 and then have Andy Pettitte on full rest going in Game 7.

But no, the “experts” conveniently avoided those facts. In analyzing his implosion at Citizens Bank Park Monday night, they neglected to mention the home/road splits. Williams harped on the fact that pitching Burnett on three days’ rest, when he hadn’t done it all season, was a recipe for trouble. Al Leiter echoed that sentiment.

Sure, they were proven correct, but it was disappointing that the candid Leiter, who has watched every game this season and called almost half their games on YES, failed to say, “He has pitched this poorly on full rest, too.” If you want to play the “What if?” game, if Gaudin started Game 5 and blew up, then Burnett, with a chance to clinch at home did the same, where would that leave the Yankees in Game 7?

The bottom line was that the Phillies did exactly what the Angels did in their second time seeing Burnett: they jumped on his fastball early in the count, hedging a bet that he’d try to establish the fastball and throw it for strikes and then work in his breaking ball. Their plan worked. Burnett’s first inning ERA in the potential game-clinching starts in Anaheim and Philly was 31.50. If that was said or written anywhere, someone please bring some education in the form of hyperlinks.

Burnett put it best: “I just didn’t throw strikes.” Ding! 53 pitches, 28 strikes. Thirty-six of the pitches were fastballs.

A big deal was made about Burnett’s hitting Shane Victorino on the hand. Garbage. He threw up and in to a batter who was squaring around to bunt. Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez would have done the same thing.

So for Game 6, the question again becomes a Yankee Pitcher on short rest facing a Phillie Pitcher on full rest. Now, this decade, in such matchups, the pitcher on short rest is 13-36.

Let’s see how the analysis plays out if the Yankees win and those same “experts” are getting champagne sprayed in their eyes.


1 lordbyron   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:50 am

A little off the beaten path, but check out the World Series bling courtesy of the folks over at River Ave Blues - http://wsrings.stadiumpage.com

2 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:51 am

[0] The most sane MLBN analysis came from Dan Plesac, who noted that the Yankees didn’t have a fourth starter as an option due to the way they (mis)handled Joba Chamberlain during the second half of the regular season. Thus, Girardi’s options were limited.

But it goes back farther than that. In just this season:

1. Wang. The Yankees lost their #2/3 pitcher to injury (and possible mishamdling of said injury...that's not the point now).
2. Hughes. The Yankees decided to convert #5/6 starter into a full time, short inning reliever. Again, whether this was the correct call is besides the point.
3. Aceves. The Yankees converted the #6/7 starter to a full-time mid-inning reliver, save one start.
4. Kennedy. The #7/8 pitcher was lost for the season due to injury.
5. Mitre. The #8/9 pitcher was exceptionally Unlucky™. Yet the team stuck with him start after start, apparently because at the time he was "just the 5th starter" and "no team has a good "5th starter", or so I was told repeatedly. Yet the team eventually came to realize that he was so Unlucky™ that he should not even be on the post season roster.
6. Gaudin. The #9/10 starter/swing man was sort of converted into the "only use in case of emergency" long man, and had not pitched more than a couple of innings---let alone start---in a month. He too was very Unlucky, but in a different way than Mitre was Unlucky™.


So, yes, the Yankees and Girardi had very limited options. For a variety of reasons, some sounder than others, they burned through basically all of their back end rotation options. Honestly, when one is debating the merits of whether or not to start the #10 starter, who hasn't pitched in a month, in a potential clinching game of the World Series...at that point you got to lean towards a three man rotation.

3 Rich   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:58 am

[2] To extend the point even further, during the offseason, the Yankees considered remaking Coke as a starter. (Given his failures in the pen, I think they should do that in 2010, if only to up his trade value).

4 ms october   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:59 am

[2] good work mp

some of these points were unavoidable, but some were not. going into the playoffs with 3 realistic starters is a risky proposition that should be tried again.

5 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:59 am

I don't think the Yankees handling of Joba left them without a 4th starter. Rather, Joba's poor performance did. The reason the Yankees kept tinkering with the plan was because Joba kept pitching worse as the season drew to a close.

Also, I disagree that Girardi had limited options. He could have made game 5 into an Aceves/Hughes/Robertson start. All three of those pitchers have given numerous reasons to thrust they they could handle 2+ innings a piece, so this wasn't a Gaudin or bust decision.

Furthermore, had Girardi gone that route and lost, and then AJ lost too, he would still have Andy backing up CC. Now, he basically has a cast of characters that he didn't trust in a game 5 as his backup for an all or nothing game 7.

Of course, had Girardi not inexplicably gone to Coke in the 7th inning of Game 5, we might not even be discussing this.

Finally, one more point...it could be argued that Pedro going on 4 days IS short rest. His two previous solid post season outings were both on very long periods of rest.

6 ms october   ~  Nov 4, 2009 11:59 am

[4] damnit - NOT, should NOT be tried again

7 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:06 pm

[5] But even we accept that Girardi had options, those options amounted to starting AJ on short rest or using some sort of BP-hydra-starter approach. That he would even have to consider the latter option shows just how limited the options were.

I agree, BTW, about Joba losing his slot more because of his own poor performance rather than mishandling. But that was not really my point at [2] (and I know that you were not responding directly to that). My point is that the Yankees got to Game 6 in the World Series by a very long and twisty road that saw them lose (whether their fault or not) something like 6 or 7 starters worth of depth.

To lay this all on Joba---his own failings or the team's poor handling---misses the point, I think, even if it makes a tidier story line.

8 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:08 pm

[5] Of course, had Girardi not inexplicably gone to Coke in the 7th inning of Game 5, we might not even be discussing this.

The decision was perfectly explicable. One may not agree with it (I am ambivalent), but it is indeed explicable. he wanted a lefty to face the lefties, and he didn't want to use Marte in three consecutive games. Simple enough.

9 ms october   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:12 pm

we also don't know if joba's "handling" contributed to his poor performance

10 51cq24   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:16 pm

[5] "Now, he basically has a cast of characters that he didn’t trust in a game 5 as his backup for an all or nothing game 7."

funny, because in the game 5 i saw, all three of the relievers you mention pitched. the only one who went untrusted was gaudin, and for good reason. he sucks.

11 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:24 pm

was Joba's routine changed because he was ineffective, or was Joba ineffective because his routine changed?

chicken or the egg time.

12 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:27 pm

[8] I spend a lot of time here thinking 'monkey is right'. Same thing with this point. Going with his rested lefty there has an obvious explanation. It doesn't become an error by the manager every time a player messes up.

There's a lot of hindsight that can be applied to how our starting played out after the All Star break. For a long time there was universal approval of Hughes in the 8th, since he was lights out there and had been truly mediocre starting. Same point as above: if the player starts being shaky, it doesn't mean the concept was bad. Joba is trickier: he was jerked around, yes, the innings cap kicked in (and it is a cap for a reason) but he was flat-out weak for a sustained period. Chicken and egg is hard to sort out.

I think going AJ on three was fine. We all saw the numbers on his short rest starts. His unpredictability is inherent, not a function of the rest, it seems. The snag is tonight with Andy. Someone hoped for 6-7. I think 7 is dreaming, 6 too optimistic. If we can score 5 on Pedro and Andy gets us into the 6th with, say 3-4 runs allowed, we go with our pen to the 8th and pray. We are also very tough to shut down late for that Philly pen, we can win this from behind.

Tense, hyper, waiting for opening pitch. Long day coming.

13 mehmattski   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:30 pm

More like: Elementary penguin, singing Hare Krishna.

14 Hugh Mulcahy   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:34 pm

[5] Hate to quibble but, Martinez has 5 days rest this time. Regardless, he'll have to dance through the raindrops to hold this lineup in check.

15 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:51 pm

[15] All I'm hoping for from Andy is 5 innings and the lead. With a lead, Girardi can then go batter-by-batter and start to employ his deep and rested, albeit unpredictable, bull pen.

Whatever the case, Andy cannot let himself get blow out.

16 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:51 pm

[15] I do like to talk to myself, but that time I was talking to Hoss [12].

17 yagottagotomo1   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:52 pm

The home/road splits are misleading. He got blown up a number of times in Fenway. Take those out and he was actually better on the road than at home. Basically, he had trouble with Boston, not the road.

18 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:54 pm

Rest isn't or wasn't an issue. Having a 4th starter that can be "trusted" wasn't an issue. Girardi correctly decided to go with his 3 best starters the greatest closer in history, and use the remaining 8 men for matchups and the like.

19 ms october   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:54 pm

[15] that is a reasonable goal - and yep he cannot get blown out , we basically need a smidge under his typical performance

so you mean his sterling pen

20 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 12:54 pm

Count me in the Joba-did-it-to-himself club. They did mishandle him but I don't think that can be wholly blamed for his utter loss of effectiveness down the stretch.

21 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:00 pm
22 james evans   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:00 pm

Starting AJ in game 5 was ABSOLUTELY the wrong decision becaue of the reasons you mention. AJ is a worse pitcher on the road (then at home) and he was on short rest. That's a bad combination. Better to let him start game 6 in NY on full rest, and then also have Pettitte fully rested for game 7 (a game that we would also have a short rest CC ready to come in if Pettitte has any problems).

If AJ didn't start game 5, then who should have the Yankees have pitched? Who cares, I doubt any of the other contenders for the start (Chamberlain, Coke) would have pitched worse than AJ (the only exception being Hughes, who has been the worst pitcher for the Yankees overall in the postseason).

Game 5 was a sacrificeable game, and if Girardi had managed it differently by saving AJ, the Yanks would be in a position of absolute strength going into tonight's game and game 7, instead of an uncertain position of weakness that they are in now, with a short rest (and not exactly young) Pettitte starting tonight, and an increasingly tired CC starting game 7 (and the Phillies seem to be catching up to his stuff).

Yanks will still probably win, but it could have been managed better.

23 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:01 pm

[20] Exactly, no matter what the "rules" are or what his "role" was, his job was to get hitters out.

24 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:05 pm

[22] But it was absolutely the right decision because AJ > NYY #4 Starter

25 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:10 pm

I am not too nervous about tonight, though it seems like a lot of people are. A Game 7 would be nerve-wracking, but I refuse to get too nerve-wracked in anticipation of maybe getting nerve-wracked tomorrow. Y'know?

I do disagree with those commentators who have gone with the Phillies-have-momentum-now narrative. It didn't feel that way to me after that game, because the last thing that happened was the Yankees scared the daylights out of them, and also scored enough runs to beat their best starter on almost any other day.

That being said, I think tonight's game is unfortunately a toss-up. The Phillies have advantage in the starter - as much as I can tell; it's difficult to gauge what Pedro's gonna be like - but the Yankees have home field, a much improved line-up (welcome back Matsui!), and Rivera. Okay maybe that sounds like the Yankees have a slight advantage.

26 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:11 pm

[2] Plesac and Leiter also discussed the Chien-Ming Wang injury and its effect on the back end of the rotation. I apologize for not including that in the column.

[8] Of Coke's 10 HR allowed this season, 6 were to lefties. Not exactly inspiring confidence. With an off-day, I would have used Marte, even with a four-run deficit.

27 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:12 pm

[24] It really depends on the circumstance. On the road with three days rest, it's not that clear-cut. Subtract Molina and add Posada and you have a tricky proposition. I don't blame Girardi though. It's a tough choice.

28 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:15 pm

[22] I disagree, on the simple premise that he could have shat himself in the first inning of Game 6, at home, on full rest as well, and put the Yankees in a bind similar to what Kevin Brown did in Game 7 of the '04 ALCS. At that point, all the momentum would be with Philly.

[25] I'm with you, Hawk. These same people thought the Angels had momentum after Game 5 and were ready to leave the Yankees for dead, even with a 3-2 series lead. Look what happened.

29 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:16 pm

[27] Posada at starting C. That was the move I questioned. But the formula had worked so far. They just didn't get it done.

30 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:20 pm

[27] The velocity was there, the command wasn't. That has been the case with Burnett whether he pitches on short or normal rest.

31 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:22 pm

And even with the ineffectiveness of Burnett and Coke, the game still came down to Jeter's GIDP and Teix's K.

32 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:23 pm

[29] It's another of the moving parts the manager had to consider. Personally I thought it was foregone conclusion that it would be Posada, but after watching highlights of Game 2 and the breaking balls in the dirt again and again for strikeouts that Molina handled so well, I could see why Girardi did what he did.

Burnett just didn't pitch well. His stuff got away from him as it sometimes does. Just unfortunate timing, but better Game 5 up 3-1 than Game 2. Whew!

33 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:24 pm

[30], [31] ... Correct on both counts. The Yankees didn't really take advantage of the extra out Jimmy Rollins gave them in the Top of the 9th. Your point on Burnett's command was not mentioned by any "experts," and I made it a point to observe that in the column. Good calls, Raf.

34 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:26 pm

[30] Everything I've heard and read about short rest has asserted that command is precisely the thing that suffers.

But either way, I'm talking about considerations that went into the decision, before the result was known. Three days rest is a bit of an x-factor for any pitcher, even Sabathia.

35 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:30 pm

[34] But Burnett has suffered with his command with normal rest, with extended rest, and with short rest.

36 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:34 pm

*looking for PitchFx data to see how much his stuff was moving a couple of nights ago

37 Greg G   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:36 pm

It is hard to 2nd guess someone who works so closely with these guys, but I was against using AJ on 3 days rest and thus Pettite and potentially CC will be pitching game 7 on 3 days again. But you can't always push the right button.

I think Girardi was going for the knockout so he wouldn't have a meltdown like in 2004. It was aggressive, and the safer play probably would have been giving AJ and Pettite normal rest. We will soon find out, but it is not like the Phillies are sending out any special pitchers for games 6 & 7.

Tonight Andy will have to get by on guile and adrenaline. I like the matchup, because Pedro for all of his bluster and arrogance has had quite a few problems trying to get by the Yankees over the years. It will certainly not be boring.

During the season the Yankees kept running guys out there to try to find a 4th starter and they would all spit the bit. It is tough to be trying to ride the hot hand when all the contenders performances were luke warm.

The pressure is still on the Phillies and the Yanks bats can keep them in this game. The Phils bullpen is a joke and Pedro will be out by the 7th at the latest. Who can Philadelphia throw out there to shut down a team smelling the finish line?

38 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:40 pm

[37] But even so, in 2004, Torre went for the kill in game 4 (Mo for 2), and to the formula in game 5 (Gordon to Rivera). Game 6 saw a couple of calls overturned (Bellhorn HR, Rodriguez slap), and we all know what happened in game 7. I don't think the two situations are comparable, especially considering that Girardi had used 3 starters in the other 2 levels of the playoffs.

39 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:42 pm

[26] Of Coke’s 10 HR allowed this season, 6 were to lefties. Not exactly inspiring confidence.

But of course, he faced more lefties. Overall, his HR rate was indeed higher v. LH (6 in 133 PAs, .045 rate ) than RH 4 in 105 PAs, .038 rate). But his total numbers against lefties were really quite good this year:

v. RH 105 PA, 18 R, 20 H, 15 BB, 17 K, 1.13 K/BB, .227/.346/.432/.778
v. LH 133 PA, 25 R, 24 H, 5 BB, 32 K 6.40 K/BB .195/.218/.366/.584

He was extremely good against left handed batters this year. But his one negative---and it's a real negative--is that he is prone to the long ball from both sides of the plate.

40 Rich   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:45 pm

[5] I don’t think the Yankees handling of Joba left them without a 4th starter. Rather, Joba’s poor performance.

The guy is coming off a serious shoulder injury which diminished his velo by at least 3 mph all season. Consequently, I think the expectations were far too high.

41 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 4, 2009 1:51 pm

My impression is that short rest for one game for someone like AJ (who was not overused during the season) would effect his ability to go deep in the game, more then the quality of the first 4 or 5 innings.

I'm not that upset using AJ on 3 days rest. As we all know, AJ is either on or off, regardless of rest. My big issue is
1) Andy on short rest
2) Not having a fully rested Andy is case CC need long relief.

It was a tough call, one that was neither right or wrong.
My feeling though is that we traded a better chance to win Game #5, and the cost of compromising Games #6 and #7.

However, in general, our pitching has been as good as we might have expected. I said 2 things before the Series started. Utley will be the difference for Philadelphia and we would need to hit (well) to win. We have the offense to Win even with poor pitching. Right now, we have a team OPS of .711. If I told you that we would have an OPS of .711 after 5 games, would you think we would be up 3-2? The Pirates had a team OPS of .705 and KC .724.

Simple put, we need to bludgeon Pedro!

42 51cq24   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:03 pm

by pitching aj in game 5, we gave ourselves 3 chances to win one game. it didn't work on monday, so it's on to chance 2. if we'd lost a game to a shaky lee with gaudin, i for one would be pissed we hadn't given aj a try. and i'd be terrified of aj giving up 4 runs in the 1st inning tonight. stop worrying about how much rest each pitcher has, we have no idea how much it actually makes a difference. tonight we have andy against pedro (who will definitely not go deep into the game), and we're going to win. but if we don't, we have our best pitcher lined up for game 7.

43 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:21 pm

[8] I guess I don't view using Coke to get the lefties as a good reason...not at the beginning of the inning and definitely not after giving up the bomb to Utley, who doesn't even have an extreme lefty split. What's more, he let Coke face Werth, who does have an extreme split. The only rational use of Coke was to neutralize Howard, but that doesn't warrant using an inferior pitcher to also face Utley (who is neutral) and Werth and Ibanez (who both have killed lefties).

The bottom line is Girardi's has given up on Hughes to the point that he let a marginal specialist like Coke supplant someone who had been dominant for much of the season. That is both inexplicable and inexcusable.

[10] He trusted them so much he only used them after the Phillies had put up 6 runs.

44 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:28 pm

[42] That's one way to look at it. You could also argue that the Yankees lessened their changes of winning in Game 6 by gambling that they would increase their chances in Game 5, even though the combination of 3-days and being on the road made AJ a risky proposition.

Going to only three starters wasn't an awful decision, but it was a risky one. If Pettitte doesn't pitch well tonight, it would be very reasonable to argue that Girardi's decision negatively impacted both games.

45 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:29 pm

[43] The bottom line is Girardi’s has given up on Hughes to the point that he let a marginal specialist like Coke supplant someone who had been dominant for much of the season. That is both inexplicable and inexcusable.

Not to pick nits, but your own analysis of the situation betrays part of your conclusion. His decision to pass over Hughes for Coke may be inexcusable, but it is not "inexplicable"---you provided one possible explanation!

I guess I don’t view using Coke to get the lefties as a good reason

Again, my point was not that it was a good reason...only that it was the obvious reason (to my mind). I am not justifying the decision, I am pointing out that is is explicable.

And see, you and I have now provided two potential explanations.

46 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:40 pm

Wow Francesa is so insufferable right about now. He's completely full of himself because he was "right" about pitching Burnett. He says Girardi "rolled the dice" - as if it wasn't a dice roll to pitch Gaudin!

He really tailors things to fit his opinion and not the other way around. Talking about Rivera for three innings, he says Rivera said he "doesn't know" if he can pitch three - then Francesa says "that's what makes it such an interesting question". Really? The guy honestly says he doesn't know if he can do it and that makes it attractive to you? I'm sure if Francesa started with the idea that no way should Rivera pitch three, he'd take that comment as evidence to support his point there too.

47 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:50 pm

[46] his "interview" with Sweeny Murty yesterday was the embodiment of everything wrong with mainstream sports media, talk radio in particular.

48 51cq24   ~  Nov 4, 2009 2:56 pm

[44] it's also reasonable to say that girardi was right in thinking that the yankees could get to lee yesterday, and therefore made the right decision to give them a chance by going to the better pitcher. and tonight we get andy on the mound with a chance to close out the series.

49 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:10 pm

Wow Francesa is so insufferable right about now.

When *isn't* he insufferable?

50 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:10 pm

[45] To me an inexplicable decision includes no reason and bad reasons. If I jumped off my office building because I thought it would be faster to fly home, that would be a reason, but I'd still say the decision was inexplicable.

Girardi had no reason to think that Coke's left handedness made him the right man for the job, so using that a reason is as inexplicable as the decision itself.

In all serious, semantics aside, the Coke decision was a pivotal mistake, in my opinion.

51 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:15 pm

[46] Girardi did roll the dice though. However, the gamble was not in game 5, but tonight. No one is suggesting that Gaudin would have pitched better (I actually think they should have used a bullpen start), but many are stating that AJ on full rest at home in game 6 with Andy backing up CC in game 7 would have given the Yankees the best chance in these two games. I agree with that sentiment.

[48] It is reasonable, but the first part turned out to be wrong. If the second part does to, then Girardi will deservingly take a lot of heat.

52 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:18 pm

[47] It was really awful - I even posted something yesterday about it. I was taken aback.

53 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:19 pm

[46] I know he rolled the dice, but I'm saying it was a dice roll either way.

54 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:19 pm

[53] Duh, I meant for [51]

55 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:23 pm

[53] I don't think AJ at home on full rest is a dice roll. Girardi gave that up to start AJ on the road with 3-days and Andy with 3-days. That is the gamble he took...not going with AJ over Gaudin.

56 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:25 pm

[55] I didn't say AJ at home was a dice roll. I'm saying pitching Gaudin would have been a dice roll.

57 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:30 pm

[56] I know, but I am saying that while AJ on the road/3-days was a better dice roll than Guadin, it eliminated a safer bet in game 6 (AJ at home). As a result, Girardi has to roll the dice again with Andy on three days rest. THATS the gamble that I think was unnecessary.

58 Rich   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:47 pm

There seems to be a logical inconsistency in advocating that a 40 year old Rivera can pitch three innings based on what he did in 2003, but then simultaneously arguing that a 38 year old starter can't pitch on three days rest because he last did in 2003 (or whenever it was).

59 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:52 pm

[57] That's fine, my point was that Francesa said Girardi rolled the dice with AJ, as if it wouldn't be a roll of the dice either way, which it would have been. I was never big on pitching AJ there anyway, though I don't think it played out as most objectors thought. The big question, I believe, will be answered tonight with Pettitte.

60 The Hawk   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:53 pm

[58] I really think because he was "right" about Burnett, Francesa is high as a kite.

61 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 3:54 pm

[50] Girardi had no reason to think that Coke’s left handedness made him the right man for the job, so using that a reason is as inexplicable as the decision itself.

And yet, as demonstrated earlier, Coke DID have fine numbers v. LH batters this year, though he has been prone to the long ball. If Marte could not go, Coke was not the worst option, in my mind. At that point Girardi has one lefty to go to against the meat of their order.

Now I for one am not so hung up lefty-righty match ups, an i would have gone with Hughes (probably). But eliminating the reductio ad absurdum of jumping out a window to save time, using your one lefty available in the pen to go after their tough lefties is by no means *inexplicable*within the context of typical baseball strategy, as employed by managers these days.

In all serious, semantics aside, the Coke decision was a pivotal mistake, in my opinion.

Mistake or not, I agree...he ended up allowing to lead to balloon to a much tougher deficit.

62 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 4, 2009 4:27 pm

[61] Coke had fine numbers against lefties (although the HRs did happen), but two of the lefties hit LH'ers and one the righty he faced mauls them. Going to Coke over Hughes was a colossal mistake, in my opinion. I don't really care that most managers would make the same inexplicable decision. All I care about is that Girardi did something so incredibly wrong, and it could have cost the team a chance to win the World Series.

63 Raf   ~  Nov 4, 2009 4:50 pm

I don’t really care that most managers would make the same inexplicable decision.

If most managers would make that decision, how is it inexplicable?

64 monkeypants   ~  Nov 4, 2009 4:51 pm

[62] If everyone make the same "inexplicable" decision, then surely it is not "inexplicable"....and this is not a matter of simple semantics. Your own analysis of the situation betrays your hyperbolic rhetoric.

Look, if we want to have a reasonable discussion about how managers misuse their relievers, I'm all for it. By now you should know that I agree in general with that premise.

But using over the top rhetoric does not further the discussion, and in fact often clouds it. What we are really talking about now is not whether Girardi did something that was inexplicable (i.e., unexplainable, incomprehensible, etc.). Rather we are speaking about the much more mundane: that Girardi does not rise above very predicable tendencies of most MLB managers.

Now that we have dispensed with the hyperbole, we can continue the discussion, and focus on what then is the real issue: managers use their relievers incorrectly, and Girardi appears to be no cleverer in this regard.

Go to it.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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