A lot to write about in this game, but the two main issues I had were with Stewart’s pitch selection and Girardi’s extremely odd bullpen decisions seemed like there was no plan. This is a classic example of why Rivera was the Genius Maker; managers can look like fools without the greatest closer of all time bailing them out!
First, Stewart was throwing far too many fastballs to specific hitters, specifically, De Aza who was 3-3 with a moonshot HR all on fastballs, except the bunt single he had (which I believe was a slider), then leading off the 8th inning, Stewart calls for 4 straight fastballs before he singles again! WAKE UP and adjust to a guy please.
OK, on to Girardi’s very weird use of the pen. I am sure he will have some BS excuse, but he made a different move than I would have every step of the way. Here is the scenario as I see it. Soriano is clearly getting a days rest and everyone else not named Wade should be ready. Yanks are up 2-1 and I am assuming Robertson is closing. Starting off the 8th Nova only had about 90 pitches. He was throwing pretty well, not grooving too many balls, but he did allow a lot of long fly balls and did walk 3 guys in 7 innings. He was having more success with his slider against the righty and his fastball and he was struggling throwing the curve for strikes most of the day, although he did throw a few later in the game. Anyway, I had DeAza leading off the 8th and after being 3-3 with a long HR I would brought in Rapada to face the lefty and then Youkilis and then Dunn, but I would have been fine with bringing in Logan for those 3 guys as well. I didn’t like the Nova matchup against DeAza and I felt a mistake was around the corner. Girardi stuck with Nova who allowed a single to DeAza but was able to strike out Youkilis on a slider that hung over the inside of the plate; we caught a break. OK, now Girardi should make a move and he does. I would have gone to Rapada because this is clearly a LOOGY situation and for one batter that is Rapada. Girardi goes to Logan, who does the job getting done out on terrible 0-2 pitch that Dunn just missed and hit a fly ball to move the runner to 3rd (who was on 2nd after a wild pitch by Nova). Now with 2 outs and the runner on 3rd Konerko is up. I would go directly to Robertson here as he can get 4 outs and I may need other guys in a 2-1 ball game. I bring him in and let him close out the game. Girardi decides to go to Eppley. I don’t hate the move, but I would have done something different. Eppley does a great job striking out Konerko and looking good doing so.
The Yanks tack on a run with a Tex HR (BTW, they scored their runs on back to back doubles with 2 outs by ARod and Cano, both good shots)
Now a 3-1 lead in the 9th Girardi decides to get greedy and not start Robertson (I am sure he will have some dumb reason which I won’t even watch because there is NO reason for it. Eppley wasn’t able to bail out Girardi and allowed a single to Rios. Now with AJ Pierzynski coming up Girardi goes to Rapada to get the lefty out. Not necessarily the wrong move agai8nst the lefty, but Robertson should have either been in the game in the 8th or at least starting the 9th. Rapada looks to bail Girardi out as AJ grounds one right back to him and he turns to start the DP and fires the ball into LCF. Now it is 1st and 3rd and 1 out and now Robertson is in the game (he only got loose during the AJ AB????) Here was my other issue with Stewart calling too many fastballs. They brought in a young pinch hitter looking dead red and on the second one he hit a 3 run HR to put us down. I really wanted a curve ball on both the first pitches…I was ticked! It was obvious he was sitting dead heat. Crappy job by Robertson, but Girardi messed that up and clearly had no plan…or at least he kept changing it.
Wise did a great job leading off with a single, but Chavez flew out and then Andrew Jones was blown away on 3 pitches before Jeter stepped to the plate. Jeter connected on a really well struck ball and I was out of my seat, but he hit more of a line drive and had no back spin on it and the liner was caught back at the wall. He really hit it well and I thought it was gone when he hit it. They were playing him deep (as they should) and it made the difference.
· Tex made a real nice back hand on a bullet
· Cano doubled up a guy at first on a line drive where he got rid of the ball like lightning and threw a strike to get him
· ARod had two doubles both hit to LC and deep (good adjustment after swinging at ball 4 away in his first AB)
· Chavez was up in a key spot in the game with bases loaded and 2 outs after their pitcher walked the last two guys. Chavez decided it was smart to swing at the first pitch and was way out in front of a slider and dribbled it to the base. He hit it off the end of his bat. This was very disappointing and a poor job of plate discipline.
· Stewart made an outstanding throw to nab a base stealer getting rid of the ball lightning quick and making a perfect throw (which Cano let travel to the tag point as one should…Jeter take notice)