I try to not be too negative and call things as I see them, but perhaps that leads me to talk about the negatives due to the fact the good moves seem to me to be the ones that are no brainers a lot. Honestly that is very simplistic, but I do make my comments without the knowledge of what happened. I hope over the years people see the credibility in this and not that it is second guessing…now that I have gotten that out of the way…
I do not understand starting Ichiro in the leadoff spot? Why would you ever want a guy with a sub .300 OBP to be at the top of your order? Just because he is fast? That is an awful reason. I say you just bat him 9th at that point. However, Ichiro did get a single steal a base and then come around to score with 2 outs…so it worked. That being said, I want to go on record saying it is not a good plan.
I also have no idea why Girardi would start the weak fielding Ibanez over the slick fielding Dickerson when Dickerson can probably hit at least as well as Ibanez and probably better if he got some playing time.
Onto the game. It was fantastic to see the great stuff Nova had and this is why I have said I like the guy. He does seem to struggle a little from the stretch, but that may be because he takes a long time and loses his rhythm. He was very sharp though and pitched 5 great innings and then in the 6th he allowed a HR to Longoria, which is acceptable as he is a good player. Nova had a good breaking ball and a moving 94-96 MPH fastball and I liked the calls Stewart made, even on the ones where he allowed hits. 4-1 and all was good.
Until the 7th…What I don’t understand is Girardi’s decision to start Nova in the 7th inning. First, the thought was the pitch count limit would probably be around 75-80 depending on the game situation. At the end of the 6th inning, Nova was at 84. That was perfect…but Girardi, inexplicably send Nova out to throw his warm up pitches and then to face another batter. Sitting around and then throwing warm up pitches (which are thrown hard) takes a toll and there was no reason for it because at most Nova would face only one more batter. With so many guys in the bullpen you go to the pen and don’t even think of messing around. But Girardi, screwed up…not because the first guy got a hit off of Nova, it was because he sent him out there for no reason at all and more importantly, put the team in a lesser position to win the game.
Then after this terrible decision, Girardi compounded it by leaving Logan in to face the righty. Why not go to Joba right there? First, I would have started Joba in the 7th to begin with, but then he let’s Logan face the righty who doubles off of him. Then, Joba got his first guy to ground back to him and that left 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and lefty Luke Scott pinch hitting. Scott is a platoon player so I would have gone right to Rapada in this spot because if they pinch hit you could put him on base with 2 outs. Then you have Wade and others. Meanwhile if they did pinch hit they would have used up everyone. Joba did allow the single scoring two and Girardi let TB back in the game with stupid managing. Of course, he wasn’t bailed out by the pen either, but if he would have done the right thing from the beginning or after screwing that up did one of the other better moves, we probably would have been OK. Every move Girardi made that was wrong backfired…
Robertson and Soriano did their jobs in the 8th and 9th even if Soriano was VERY shaky. At least Girardi doesn’t have to think about the 8th and 9th…they just need to do their jobs.
It was nice to see Nunez hit a HR after the bad error. He did make an unwise throw to barely get the force at 2nd in the 5th inning, but he did get his guy.
We got some help by Madden pitching to ARod with a base open and Swisher on deck and already down 1 run and ARod delivered with a big insurance run. I would be critical of their manager for that move.