Dave Cameron of USS Mariner takes a look at new M’s manager Don Wakamatsu:
While the Griffey scenario was the biggest challenge, he’s also proven adept in other areas. His handling of the bullpen has been very good so far, finding the right options for high leverage situations and relegating Batista to a back-up role despite his vast experience lead over the rest of the relief arms. He’s shuffled the line-up depending on opposing pitcher handedness, something the previous managers simply weren’t willing to do. He’s stuck with struggling starters when the team needed innings and managed the workloads without riding anyone excessively hard.
You know who that paragraph could apply to? Joe Girardi. The same things that Joe has been criticized for at different times this year are things that Cameron (and I fully agree) sees as attributes of a good manager. He has been open to finding the right options for high leverage situations, using Phil Coke and Jon Albaladejo in important spots rather than the more experienced Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, and Damaso Marte. He stuck with struggling starters to save his bullpen (CC Sabathia against Oakland, for example) and has managed workloads very well, spreading the large number of bullpen innings over all of his relievers (6 relievers between 7.1 and 10.1 innings). Finally, he has shuffled the lineup based on the pitcher’s handedness, something he did last season to resounding criticism. He has not been perfect, but he continues to distinguish himself as a good manager in terms of strategy. The Yankees are playing poorly, but it is not Joe Girardi’s fault.