About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

10 thoughts on “Is Girardi’s Bullpen Too Rigid?

  1. while it would have been nice to bring in Soriano (in a perfect world, that would make perfect sense) – Joe probably figured Soriano would have refused to take the mound. Or at least, had a total hissy fit at the thought of being brought in for a non-save.

    RS has already made it perfectly clear in what cases and situations he is willing to pitch – last night didn't fit HIS template, his scenario.

    Simple as that.

    • Could you privide a link to this story? I don't remember reading about it. The guy was OK with not being a closer, but made demands about pitching the 8th inning?

      Bullpen usage across the majors blows my mind. Managers don't have the "tradition" defense, like with bunting, so I just don't get their thinking. The save stat dictates closer usage, that's dumb, but fine. Why are there defined 7th and 8th inning pitchers? Why not do the clearly logical thing and have the best pitcher pitch the highest leverage situations?

  2. Girardi has mentioned that Soriano is the second closer on the Yankees, and will be used in that manner… I wonder if he tries to use him in a bases empty situation each time.

  3. It's just another case of Joe falling victim to his preconceived ideas of what roles he sees his guys in and his stupid matchup/situational binder.

    Soriano absolutely should have been brought in to face Scutaro in the 7th last night. That moment was the most critical one in keeping the game a 1-run game and Joba clearly didn't have his best stuff. For the money they are paying this guy, and the fact that he could leave after every season, the Yankees should be using him in every high-leverage situation possible.

    And the argument that he would refuse to go out there or be upset about it is bogus, and Joe should never even consider that when making his decisions. If the manager tells you you're going in, you're going in, period. If Soriano wants to sulk about it after the fact, so be it. He was a surly, whiny baby in Tampa last year and he got the job done. As long as he gets out, who cares if he's happy about how he's being used? That's up to the manager, not him.

  4. GIrardi has always had a history of bull pen mis management. He gets locked into one scenario and he doesn't seem to have the ability to adjust when the situation needs it. His use of pitchers has certainly not been one of his strong points during his career. He is fine with the other aspects of the game but his pitchers are his weakness. Ultimately this will lead to the Yankees downfall later in the year.
    I don't know if his pitching coaches have much say in his use of the bull pen but it certainly looks the same as last year and there is a new coach on the ranch.

  5. I totally agree. I for one was hoping Girardi wasn't resigned because of his bullpen blunders and lineup goofaws. That said, Soriano should be used as a "rally" stopper . As in this example, he comes in the game in the seventh because Boston happened to be threatening to blow the game open. Last week Girardi took out Sabathia after he retired 17 in a row , just because it was the seventh inning and "time" to put in Joba. The Yanks lost the game because of Girardi's poor choices as usual.

  6. Joba is his "7th inning guy" … how you can pull the guy; it'd be like pulling Mariano Rivera who's his 9th inning guy. :) Girardi has always managed by the book… and for lineups and pinch-hititng that is fine but bullpen cannot always be about is the batter righty or lefty or is he 0 for 4 or 2 for 4 career lifetime (as if that matters). I wonder how long before Robertson is his '6th inning guy'.

    I think the absolute worst thing that could have happened was Joba-Soriano-Mo looked real good a few times out of the box. This mean any 6th inning lead of 3 runs or less is likely the end of the day for starters not named CC; unless of course these guys have been overworked. The problem will be when they are rested, because there will be no issue using them, but there will be an issue the next day or two after that (and this has always been Girardi's problem in the pen)

    I'm all for having established roles, but the 7th and 8th inning guys need to be used with flexibility as generally speaking there is a dropoff after that. For example you probably don't want to use both on back to back days so the following day at least one is available… this might mean trusting your starter to pitch the 7th, or trusting another reliever to pitch the 7th. The key here though is sometimes getting that 7th inning may be key after an off day, where Girardi is even less likely to do it, because his guys are rested.

    I'm also curious to see if Nova's arm will fall off after 90pitches, because that's how Girardi is managing the guy.

  7. "We saw it on Tuesday, when Girardi left a badly struggling Soriano in to face Joe Mauer with two outs and the bases loaded in the 8th…"

    Agreed. But in this instance, will someone explain to me why he didn't send in Mo?

  8. I have said it before and will say it again. Joe Girardi has no clue as to when a pitcher is in trouble and needs to pulled. This is exactly what happened last night. Joba was in trouble and never should have faced Scutaro. But he did and the Red Sox took full advantage of the mistake. Now, you can't put all the blame on Girardi. He has a pitching coach who should be in his face when he sees that a pitcher doesn't have it. Now, if the new pitching coach doesn't know HIS pitchers, then he didn't do his homework over the Winter and during Spring Training. If this is the case, then get rid of him now and hire someone who knows what they are doing.

  9. As a brief defense of Joe: it's early in the season and he probably thinks it's better not to damage a pitcher's confidence by yanking them early. Chamberlain needs to feel like he's the 7th inning guy. This was also why he brought and left Soriano in against the Twins, so Soriano could learn to own the 8th, even with a ridiculous four run lead. He's not a matchup manager, he's a confidence manager, like his mentor Joe Torre. There's no way to know whether this is sound baseball strategy although it seems like sound baseball psychology. If, further along in the season, Joba gets out of a big 7th inning jam on his own, then leaving him in for a game in April will seem like genius. Of course I have my doubts whether Chamberlain can handle any adversity, men-on-base, at all, which is why I'd rather see Robertson in the 7th and Chamberlain as the 4th/situational righty guy. My issue is less with Girardi's bullpen management then the Yankee brass's talent evaluation and decision-making. My guess is if Chamberlain keeps giving up runs in the 7th, we'll see the switch to Robertson soon.