Daniel David Murphy
I hate intentional walks. Absolutely hate them. They almost never make any sense, and one of only 2 exceptions to the rule only affects the National League. Giving David Murphy a free pass is just asking for trouble, and sure enough, Bengie Molina made sure to make them pay for it. The baseball gods were not pleased.
Leaving A.J. Burnett in Too Long
This one I don’t really feel like expounding on, but suffice it to say that, from the look of my Twitter feed, everyone in the world other than Girardi knew that it was time to take Burnett out after the 5th inning. John Flaherty just said it best on YES; Girardi managed this like a regular season game, trying to squeeze one more inning out of his starter rather than trying to get the lead to Mariano Rivera. And that brings me too…
Bringing in Sergio Mitre
To put this as diplomatically as I can; everything else on this list annoyed me, this one flat out infuriated me. Yes, the Yankees were down by 4 runs. It’s still within the margin of a home run, but it’s not really close. Still, it’s game 4 of the ALCS and you are down 2 games to 1! Bringing in Mitre here is tantamount to giving up on the game, and you simply can’t afford to do that in this situation. If you don’t want to needlessly use Mo here, that’s semi-understandable. At some point there’s not going to be a tomorrow to worry about, but down by 4 it’s understandable enough to want to be able to use Mo to the max tomorrow. But if that’s the case, then bring in Kerry Wood and go in to tomorrow planning on only using 2 pitchers for the entire game if you have to. But do not punt game 4 when you’re down in the series.
I’ve defended Joe Girardi basically since he’s been in New York. I defended him in 2008, last postseason, and this September. But now, in the first real test of his tactical acumen, he’s failing miserably. This whole series has been a disaster from a managerial standpoint. On some level, I’m willing to chalk that up to a bit of a learning curve for the guy who is managing in his first really tough postseason series. But tonight, I watched Joe Girardi all but literally give up on a playoff game with his team trailing in the series. That is totally inexcusable, and Girardi is stretching even my patience with moves like that.