The good news is that Joe Must Go Girardi didn't cost the Yankees a win today
. Brett Gardner made sure of that in the bottom of the 13th. The bad news is that his pitiful late game strategy probably cost the Yankee pen 4 needless innings and 48 needless pitches.
In the bottom of the ninth, Girardi made not one, but two completely asinine decisions, and one questionable decision. The questionable one was not pinch running for Pudge Rodriguez when he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. I say that one is only questionable because maybe he didn't want to send Justin Christian out there again in the same situation as yesterday, and he didn't want to commit to putting Molina into the game. Fine, he gets a pass on that one. The other two, however, were just plain dumb.
With Pudge on and no one out, Girardi made the right call, at first, he had Gardner bunting. Gardner took a ball, then fouled a bunt off, then took another ball. With the count 2-1, Girardi took the bunt off and called a hit and run. Stupid. Luckily, Gardner fouled the ball off and then Girardi got even luckier when Gardner walked.
The Yanks then had men on first and second, no one out, with Damon coming up. If there was ever a situation which called for a bunt, this was it. I can't think of a single reason not to bunt here. Look at it this way, if Damon gets the bunt down, there's a 99% chance the Royals are going to walk Jeter. So we'd have Bobby Abreu up there with the bases loaded and one out. You can't ask for a better situation in the bottom of the 9th. What does Girardi do? Has Damon swing away. He K's, easily. Then Jeter bounces into a double play to end the inning. Four innings, and 48 needless pitches later, the Yanks pulled it out, but Girardi should not be let off the hook. Those decisions in that situation are firing offenses, but that's nothing new for Must Go.
Great game for Gardner, who found a couple of holes with ground balls and generally didn't look like he was in over his head for the first time this season. Hopefully we'll see more of that in the coming days/weeks.
As bad as Girardi was/is, this one wasn't completely on him. The Yanks had the bases loaded with no one out in the 4th inning and A-Rod and Giambi coming to the plate. A-Rod K'd, looking, and Giambi hit into a routine double play. That's only one example of this team's ineptitude. It's just painful to watch.Player of The Game: