This afternoon’s Twins-Yankees game featured yet another bit of puzzling bullpen management. The Yankees had a 3-2 lead going into the top of the 8th inning. With the Twins’ 3-4-5 hitters due up, Yankees manager Joe Girardi elected to leave Phil Coke in the game after he entered in the 7th. Naturally, I was incensed because it was the optimal time to use Mariano Rivera.
(A-Rod hits a walk-off homer. I jump around jubilantly, debate whether or not to continue complaining, and decide that I will.)
Equally naturally, Coke gave up two runs and the lead shifted to 4-3 in favor of the Twins. The Yankees then tied the game up in the bottom of the 8th, and Girardi brought in Rivera to pitch the 9th. Fine. The game goes into extra innings. Fine. Rivera comes out to pitch the 10th. Fi… wait, what?
If Rivera was available to pitch two innings, then why didn’t he pitch the 8th when the Yankees had a slim lead against the heart of the order? It’s a troubling logical inconsistency, and I can’t think of a good explanation for Girardi’s curious decisions.