There is a lot to write about this game, but I will start with my summary. Minnesota played a terrible game and we still couldn’t win.
Going into the 8th inning my comment was that we are about to win a game that was given to us with shabby defense and some poor base running by the opposition. However, with some questionable moves and the continued poor offense, we could not win.
This also was the classic antithesis of why Mariano Rivera became the Genius Maker. This was the exact type of game where the manager unjustifiably panics and goes to Rivera and where Mo would normally bail out the manager and the team. However, in this case, Girardi went to Mo and Rivera did a terrible job. He did get a bad call on one pitch to Thome that really changed the AB and ended up being a walk, but one bad call should not derail anyone. The one item I noticed was that Rivera kept going down and in to Thome and I thought that was dangerous (rather than when his cutter is up and in) and it ended up being the game ender as Kubel golfed it into the stands.
Getting back to the situation, I was not happy when Joba came out with 2 outs in the 8th inning and the bases loaded. Rivera was fully rested so that was not the issue, but Joba was rested as well and his stuff was good and I would have let him pitch his way out of the trouble he was in; let him feel like he owns the 8th inning (even if you won’t always manage that way). His stuff was there which is what I watch for most of the time. He was throwing 95-96 and good bite on his slider and had just struck out Morneau and gotten Cuddyer to line (not a bullet) to Texieara who missed the play. BTW, Tex makes great plays, but am I the only one who feels he makes every play look harder? I have said this before and I am not picking on Tex who has been excellent defensively… and honestly as long as he makes the plays I could care less, but every scoop or play he makes a demonstrative action compared to some guys who just smoothly get it done and it doesn’t looks as flashy (see Cano). This one he didn’t make the play so we just move on.
Some other notes:
Robertson pitched 2 scoreless innings, but looked bad as he had no command of his fastball missing spots by the length of the plate. His 2nd inning was good, but the first was awful. Maybe the 2nd inning will get him going.
Gardner and Jeter had bad offensive games and specifically I thought Gardner had 2 awful AB’s and they were in big spots. He seemed as if he felt he had to have a very different approach with runners on and he felt like he had to swing at everything. I know they have talked about situational hitting, but it is more important to get good AB’s and if you feel like you must put the ball in play, then be a little more aggressive earlier in the count, but you do that once and get back to your normal approach.
Cano and ARod had bad games as well going 0-8.
Texiera had 2 hits, but made a rare bad play in the field on a line drive where he over jumped for a ball and it hit off the heal of his glove. He makes that play and the yanks win the game because it would have been the 3rd out in the 8th inning. Honestly, that was a fairly routine play and it was one of the other reasons Joba should have stayed in the game.
Winn came through with a big triple in the game and also got a hit that gave us some life in the 9th before Jeter, Gardner and then Tex all struck out to end the game.
I am always saddened when Rivera doesn’t get the job done, but I do think Girardi made a mistake as Joba was going through the meat of the Minnesota lineup and if Joe felt it so important to get Rivera out there he should have started him in the 8th inning as that was the toughest inning to close out the game. I also would not have an issue if Job looked bad right away, but with Boston and TB over the next 4 days do you really want Rivera to throw more than an inning when Joba looks pretty good?