If you follow a lot of the same people I follow on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed a pretty consistent in-game criticism of Joe Girardi developing this season; he’s going to his bullpen too early. In addition to yesterday’s game with the Orioles, there have been two other stand-out examples; Freddy Garcia‘s first start of the season, and C.C. Sabathia‘s 7 shutout innings effort against the Twins (otherwise known as the game that shall not be spoken of). There have been a handful of others it’s been debated in, but those were much more marginal examples that probably aren’t worth including.
Up until now, I haven’t really jumped into this with both feet because I’ve been able to see some rational arguments for both sides. While I think Sabathia and Garcia both could have pitched a little longer, but there were also reasonable arguments for not pushing them. Considering how early in the season it was, I just wasn’t going to get worked up over.
Well I’m getting off of that bus for the moment, because there was absolutely no reason for taking Freddy Garcia out of yesterday’s game. Through 6 innings Garcia had allowed zero runs, two hits, walked two batter, and struck out seven while throwing just 90 pitches. He was having no problems with the Orioles’ lineup, and his stuff looked great. Unless Garcia told Girardi he wasn’t feeling up to another inning or something, there’s absolutely no reason not to send him out to at least attempt to get another inning, or more, out of him. This was an example of Girardi being far too eager to go to his bullpen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this directly allowed the Orioles to come back, or that the bullpen shouldn’t have been able to close the game out in regulation. But over the long term, the bullpen is going to have to put in a lot of unnecessary work if Girardi doesn’t trust guys like Garcia to pitch into the 7th even when they’ve got their best stuff, and as I said the other day; making too many pitching changes is like taking too many turns at Russian roulette. Continue reading Girardi needs to trust his starters.