Well before we could get to that, Washington had another move to make, lifting Oliver for side-arming righty Darren O’Day. A-Rod didn’t managea home run, but he smoked O’Day’s first pitch past Texas third baseman Michael Young for a 2 RBI single, moving the tying run into scoring position, still with no one out. Here’s were things really get weird.
With Robinson Cano at the plate, Washington decided to bring in another left-handed reliever, even though Cano doesn’t have much in the way of a platoon split. More curiously, the lefty was Clay Rapada, a pitcher who, far from being the next Mariano Rivera, wasn’t even on the Rangers’ ALDS roster. This exchange ended predictably enough, with Cano taking a first pitch meatball straight up the middle for a base hit. Josh Hamilton bobbled the ball in center, allowing Tex to score the tying run and A-Rod to move to 3rd.
Again, Washington went to his bullpen, bringing in lefty Derek Holland to face…Marcus Thames?! There’s one guy in the baseball viewing world who isn’t aware of Marcus Thames’ platoon splits, but thankfully, that guy was managing the Texas Rangers last night. Sure enough, Thames lined a single to left, and just like that, the Yankees had scored 5 runs before recording an out to take the lead.
All in all, Washington used 5 pitchers in the inning, including 4 relievers, and not one of them was his closer Neftali Feliz. Asked about it after the game, Washington claimed he didn’t want to bring Feliz in with 6 outs to go in the game because, “he’d never done that before,” but as D.J. Silva points out, this just isn’t true. Feliz has recorded 6 outs in a game 3 times this season, including once against the Yankees.
Some Yankee fans like to complain about Joe Girardi, but Ron Washington put on a clinic of bad managing last night. There was bad strategy in holding back his best reliever as the game slipped away to put in inferior pitchers, bad tactics in bringing in lefties to face Swisher, Tex, and Thames, and an apparent ignorance of his players’ platoon stats and how he’d used them this year. It was truly an impressive performance, and one Yankee fans should keep in mind the next time they’re pondering how awful Joe Girardi is.