Joe Girardi faces big test in Miller’s DL stint

Having two good – if not great – bullpen options makes being a manager look easy.

There’s not a great formula needed when you have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Pitch them both in either inning, it hasn’t really mattered.

But things got curious over the last couple of days with Joe Girardi’s decisions. First, he said Betances off on Wednesday, and promised he didn’t plan on using him even though the Yankees were off on Thursday. Betances threw 14 pitches the night before.

Sure, there is a long stretch of games coming up, but Betances is not going to be needed in every game in this stretch.

Then, it was announced after yesterday’s game that Andrew Miller was headed to the deal with a forearm muscle strain. There goes the closer, but the Yankees have Betances sliding into his spot in the ninth.

Yet, the worrisome part is that Miller stated to reporters after yesterday’s game that his issue didn’t occur suddenly.… Click here to read the rest

Concern Over Tanaka’s Workload?

Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

Currently, Masahiro Tanaka is the only really exciting part about the New York Yankees. His starts are always must see events, and he is in definite contention to start the All-Star game.

However, at this point it does not seem like he will do that since he is currently scheduled to pitch July 13th at Baltimore, which is the final game before the All-Star break. The Yankees probably aren’t very upset by this development since they have taken every precaution with Tanaka that they could so far.

The Yankees have had a few chances recently to skip over Vidal Nuno due to off days and keep Tanaka on his regular five days rest. This would seem like an easy call since Tanaka may be the best pitcher in the AL and Nuno may be the worst.

Nuno’s 5.53 FIP is almost as bad as his 5.88 ERA. He doesn’t strike out many batters with his pedestrian stuff, yet he walks 2.94 batters per nine innings.… Click here to read the rest

Why players don’t care about Michael Pineda’s “dirt”

Bk6idBvIAAEsBRAMichael Pineda threw with the type of gusto through Thursday he had three years ago when the Yankees traded for him from Seattle.

His slider made batters look foolish. His fastball set up off-speed pitches. And he mixed in a cutter and changeup to keep the Boston Red Sox off-balance.

However, on Friday morning, no one seemed to be talking about Pineda’s pitching performance. Instead, it was about the substance on Pineda’s pitching hand. Television stills showed a brown substance on the base of the palm of his hand.

Pineda called it dirt. Others called it pine tar.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t know anything about it.

The Red Sox players said it didn’t matter.

There are reasons that it doesn’t matter to Boston – or most players asked around the league.

1. No one wants to be the team to point it out. If a manager does, he will set up his own team for the same kind of scrutiny.… Click here to read the rest

Joe Brings The Old Sac Bunt Out Of His Bag Of Tricks

Ichiro Bunt vs BAL

There’s perhaps no play in baseball that further divides old school fans and analysts from the more sabermetrically-inclined new school crew than the sacrifice bunt.  What one calls a gritty, smart “baseball play,” the other calls pointless and a waste of a perfectly good out.  Personally, I’ve always been on the new school side.  I just don’t like the idea of giving up outs and killing chances for a potentially bigger inning by sacrificing one.  I can, however, see the value in a sac bunt in certain situations or at certain times in certain games, and that’s why I’m not sure how I feel about Joe bringing it back this weekend.  Joe has used the sac bunt a time or 2 in the past, usually in situations that left more people scratching their heads than clapping their hands.  Against the Orioles, he damn near featured it as the focal part of the Yankee offense.

Twice in each of the first 2 games this past weekend Joe went to the sac bunt with a runner in scoring position, with mostly positive results:

  •  In the 1st inning on Friday, he had Ichiro try to sac bunt Brett Gardner to third base after Gardner led off the game with a double.  
Click here to read the rest

On Overbay’s Role

Overbay Outfield vs CLE

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The Yankees managed to pull out another squeaker yesterday Sunday, scratching a run across in the top of the 9th to beat Seattle and keep their “close game” record going strong.  Those of you who watched the game, particularly the final 2 innings, were probably left wondering if the game would have been that close late were it not a few questionable non-pinch hit moves by Joe late.  With 2 outs and a runner on 2nd, Joe let Vernon Wells hit against a righty, which led to an inning-ending groundout, and in the 9th he let both Reid Brignac and Chris Stewart hit with a RISP.

In both of these instances, Joe had Lyle Overbay ready and waiting on the bench and chose not to use him.  Overbay spent the majority of this weekend series glued to the bench after moonlighting as a right fielder against Cleveland earlier in the week.  Removing him from the outfield was the right move, but if Joe isn’t going to use him as a lefty pinch hitter in obvious situations like yesterday Sunday, then what the hell is Overbay on the roster for?… Click here to read the rest

Where Was Brett Gardner Last Night?

Matt Wieters, Brett Gardner

To not see Brett Gardner‘s name included in last night’s lineup was more than a bit surprising.  There hadn’t been any reports of him being sick or injured, the team was coming off a scheduled off-day for travel and had actually had 2 scheduled off-days in the last 5 calendar days, they were playing in the notoriously offense-friendly Coors Field, and Gardner has been the best defensive player and one of the best all-around players on the team so far this season.  Yet there he was, plopped on the bench while Joe elected to send arguably the weakest lineup of the season out there to play, not score, and lose.

Joe’s explanation for this decision was, as you’d expect, matchups.  The Yankees were facing another left-handed starter last night in Jorge De La Rosa, and Joe wanted to put another righty bat in the lineup.  Unfortunately, the only available righty bat on the bench is Ben Francisco and that’s where the decision making train starts to come off the tracks of logic.… Click here to read the rest

Lame Duck Joe

JoeGirardix-large

While Hal breaks traditional Yankee business rules to start contract negotiations with Robinson Cano, it bears reminding that there is another key piece of the puzzle entering this season in the final year of his current contract- manager Joe Girardi.  This season will be Joe’s sixth at the helm of the Bronx Bombers and other than the one post I wrote on the subject a while back, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion anywhere about his future with the organization and where the front office should put re-signing him on the priority list.

Joe’s status in 2013 isn’t a lame duck one in the truest sense of the phrase.  He’s got a 479-331 record, won three division titles, an American League pennant, and a World Series championship in his five years as Yankee manager, so his body of work definitely doesn’t merit a position on the hot seat.  If the Yankees don’t make the postseason this year, it will have more to do with injuries and the step back the team took in overall talent this past offseason than Girardi’s managing.  … Click here to read the rest

Extensions For Joe & Cano Should Be A Priority

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

When he wasn’t busy trying to pull non-existent wool over the eyes of us Yankee fans or slapping us in the face with his bulging money clip, Hal Steinbrenner did take some time the other day last week to comment on the upcoming contract situations for Joe Girardi and Robinson Cano.  Both of them enter 2013 in the final year of their current deals, and in typical Yankee fashion Hal played the “we don’t do extensions” card.  That’s not surprising knowing how the Yankees do business when it comes to new contracts, but considering they’re already changing the way they do business by trying to scale back payroll, it would be wise to loosen up the standards on the extension front as well.

Girardi has done a very good job in his time as Yankee manager.  He’s experienced the highs of winning a World Series title and the lows of not even making the playoffs.  … Click here to read the rest

How can Joel Sherman stay on the Yankee beat after last night?

Yankee fans were stewing after last night’s game-ending blown call at first base by Jerry Meals, and apparently the Yankee manager shared that sentiment. In case you missed it, you can watch video of the Yankee post game interview with the manager here, and get the reports of what transpired afterward in the manager’s office here. I didn’t think Joel’s initial question was in any way out of line, but the way he followed up by badgering the Yankee manager and Girardi’s reaction speaks volumes about what the two men think of each other. As a Yankee fan tuning in to get news on the team, incidents like this just get in the way.

Let’s get a few things on the table from the outset. In the newspaper biz there are reporters and columnists. Reporters are there to gather and relay facts in an objective way, to further the credibility of the outlet as a news source. Columnists/editorial writers, however, are there to weigh in with opinions and are free to say whatever they think on a given topic.… Click here to read the rest