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I've reached the end of my rope. The Yankees lost another one-run game tonight. They left a small army on the bases. Their closer blew another tie game. They didn't execute. None of this is news. They've been playing like this for three weeks now. Why is our manager the only one who doesn't realize this?

You can't blame Girardi for what players do in certain situations. You can, however, blame him for not putting them in situations where success is easier. Three head-scratching decisions tonight by Girardi, only the latest in a long line of decisions which have told me he cannot handle managing this team.

  1. Bottom of the second, men on first and second, Brett Gardner at the plate. No bunt. The Yanks were already down 1-0, Jose Molina was on deck. What was Girardi hoping for here? He had two horrible hitters coming up, and the chance to get one run without a hit. Instead, he has Gardner swing away, he Ks on 3 pitches, the Yankees do not score.
  2. With the game tied in the top of the 8th Girardi decides to call on Edwar Ramirez. Veras is the 8th inning guy. I think that's been established. By going to Edwar in the 8th, Girardi was playing for extra innings. You call on the 7th inning guy for the 8th, the 8th inning guy for the 9th, the closer if you go beyond that. If you're planning on using your closer in the 9th, you go with the 8th inning guy in the 8th. It's simple strategy. Instead, we see Edwar in the 8th, Mo in the 9th, and Veras gets a night of rest. I'm not arguing with bringing Mo in, I'm just saying Girardi's strategy was faulty and confused, as it usually is.
  3. In the bottom of the 9th, after a miraculous pinch-hit single by Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian pinch runs. He's out there to steal second base, pure and simple. The Royals catcher, John Buck, has thrown out 16% of runners all season long, Christian is near-perfect in stolen base attempts this season. Johnny Damon stole second on Buck easily earlier in the game, even though it was a hit-and-run and he got a terrible jump. You have him steal, then Damon bunts him over to third and you can tie the game up without a hit. Again, putting your team in a position where success is easier. Instead, Girardi decides to have Damon bunt, and basically give up an out for the base that they could've easily stolen for free. You know the rest of the story. Damon takes two strikes, then on the 3-2 pitch Christian gets picked off. A stupid rookie mistake, but he shouldn't have been standing there at that point. This one is on Girardi, as far as I'm concerned.
As much as I hate to see this team lose. As much as I'd love to see them in the playoffs, I'm almost glad we're seeing how Girardi will handle himself in tough spots. I can only hope that the Yankee brass sees it too. If the Yanks had been healthy this year, they probably would've cakewalked into the playoffs and we wouldn't have seen what a choke artist Girardi is until the first-round exit. At least now they can do something about it before he has to manage a game that really matters. Whether they will is an entirely different question.

Player of The Game: Jeter. The only one who hasn't quit on Girardi.
Team Record: 64-58
Damon: One.

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by Brian on Aug 16 2008
Tags: Derek Jeter | Girardi Must Go | Royals |