I could write four thousand words about the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to the Angels last night. In virtually every respect, it was a gut-wrenching game to watch. Bad A.J. showed up. There was more suspect umpiring. There were real rallies and near rallies. Many runners were left on base. The bullpen management (like I can go two consecutive posts without mentioning this) was terrible. It was just a long and hard game to watch, the sort of game that I’m pretty sure cut ten or fifteen minutes off my life.
Another cranky manifesto seems masochistic to me, so I’ll just pose all the questions that were running through my head throughout the game. Maybe one of you can shed some light on the answer, because I understand very little of the following:
- Why must the Yankees continue to start Jose Molina when A.J. Burnett pitches? And, given that they’re intent on doing this, why let Molina even hit in the top of the 3rd inning, when you’re already down 4-0? The Yankees reaped no benefits from his allegedly strong relationship with Burnett, and then let him hit. What’s the point?
- On the heels of an incredible six-run rally, why send Burnett out for the bottom of the 7th inning? And, given that they did that, why warm up Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain as your backup plan? If Burnett is out, that means he allowed baserunners, and Marte (terrible) and Chamberlain (trouble throwing strikes) are not reliever you want to deploy with runners on base.
- Where is David Robertson? Why not send Robertson out for the 7th inning? It could go Robertson (7th), Phil Hughes (8th), Mariano Rivera (9th), with each reliever fitting neatly into the stupid but conventional role system that managers love so much. Of course, the right move was to send out Rivera for the 7th and 8th, but it’s clear at this point that that’s asking too much.
- I’m still not done with this Robertson thing. Why are Hughes and Chamberlain both so clearly ahead of Robertson on Joe Girardi’s Totem Pole of Trust? Is it because Girardi thinks Robertson is a kid and not ready for the big moment? He got out of that bases loaded, nobody out jam against the Twins. He’s also older than Hughes and Chamberlain. Is it because Girardi thinks Robertson is worse than them? Chamberlain had a 4.75 ERA this season in 157 innings; Hughes had a 3.03 in 86. Look at Robertson’s numbers and tell me that he isn’t worthy of a shot. Is it because Robertson – through no fault of his own – has never before been branded as a baseball team’s set-up man (as Hughes and Chamberlain have), making him an unrealistic option with a late lead? I fear that’s exactly what it is.
- Why use Rivera when down 7-6 in the 8th, but not when tied 6-6 in the 7th? Is it because the number in the innings column is “7” and not “8” or “9”? I fear that’s exactly what it is.
- Down one run with two outs in the top of the 9th, why pinch-run for Alex Rodriguez at first, and then not send the runner? Once again, Girardi did something just because he could, and not because it was the right move.
I just don’t get this game sometimes.