• April 12th @ The Royals

    Posted by on April 12th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    For a fan, when it comes to their fav-team losing ballgames, there’s different pain (suffered) associated to different types of losses.

    It hurts when your team is beat in a blow-out loss. That hurt is somewhat greater when they lose a game where the run differential is around four runs or so. And, it hurts even more than that when your team loses a close game – say, when the difference between winning and losing is three runs or less.

    There’s also added pain when your team loses a game where they once had the lead. But, that additional suffering is even greater when they lose a game where they were once trailing but came back to take the lead (and then later blew that advantage gained).

    And, of course, there’s always that terrible feeling that comes when your team loses a game some place within the last two innings of a contest.

    So, when your team loses a game, where the end difference in the contest is less than three runs, and it was a game where they were once losing and then came back to take the lead, and they ended up losing it in the last couple of innings of the game…well..that’s a world of hurt…as we Yankees fans know…right now…after today’s outcome.

    General Joe tried to get cute today playing match-up with his relievers in the 8th inning – and, he almost got away with it. But, almost don’t count, does it?

    In baseball today, just as you have a pitcher who owns the 9th inning for you when you have a lead, if you’re a really good team, you have to have a pitcher who owns that 8th inning as well – where it’s his job to get those three outs and bridge the way to the closer. The 8th inning of a close game is no place to be cranking up the bullpen carousel.

    Funny that this happened, today, in a game started by Joba Chamberlain. Boy, are the talking heads going to have fun with this one for a few days…and I guess we should too? What do you think about what happened in this afternoon’s game?

    Comments on April 12th @ The Royals

    1. antone
      April 12th, 2009 | 7:32 pm

      Girardi overanalyzed this one..should have left Marte in there..he was actually pitching good and it’s not like Manny Ramirez was coming up to bat or anything. I think Marte can get a bum right-handed hitter out.

    2. Pat F
      April 12th, 2009 | 7:39 pm

      really nailed this one right on the head steve, tough one to take. and the reason: joe girardi 2009 loss #1.

      1) tough spot without a-rod and teixeria, and a day game after a night game with jorge. DHing a struggling matsui over damon (who has bad numbers against meche, but i’d rather than matsui) and posada (who had an off day two days ago and crushes meche) is tough to accept.

      2) not pinch hitting either damon or posada for melky with runners on first and third and nobody out in the 7th is INEXPLICABLE. i was watching with my father, uncles, and cousins at easter and everyone immediately said here comes posada/damon lets blow this thing open. then melky bangs into his second DBP. at game 6, is damon really not capable of pinch hitting and playing 3 innings of defense on an off day? of course he can. this was AWFUL.

      3) you said it, too cute with the bullpen. veras is going to work in a 6-0 game for 1.1 innings, then come in a 1 run game the next day? just one out, but let marte finish that off, and if you really want to go righty/righty either go to a pitcher who didn’t pitch last night, or pitch someone else last night so veras is ready for that spot.

    3. ken
      April 12th, 2009 | 8:14 pm

      Very simple story and you nailed it, Steve. Overmanaging. Pick your 8th inning guy and stick with him (esp in April). Don’t unnecessarily put your weakest pitchers (middle relievers) in toughest spots (late innings; men on base; one run lead).

    4. KPOcala
      April 12th, 2009 | 9:34 pm

      I don’t understand this over-managing business in tight games. I mean, as a manager shouldn’t you use your two hottest pitchers in the eight and ninth? I suppose managers have learned that you have to look as though your calculating rocket re-entry vectors to make 7 figure salaries (Joe Torre excepted).

    5. Evan3457
      April 12th, 2009 | 9:55 pm

      Funny that this happened, today, in a game started by Joba Chamberlain…What do you think about what happened in this afternoon’s game?

      I think that if Joba Chamberlain is waiting in the 8th inning, the game doesn’t get to the 8th with the Yanks in the lead, so that point is moot.

      I think a strong starting pitcher is much more important than a shut-down 8th inning set-up guy. Apparently, the BBWAA agree with me, because Cole Hamels was the MVP of the 2008 World Series, and not Ryan Madson…because Josh Beckett was the MVP of the 2007 ALCS, and not Hideki Okajima…and so on, and so.


      Marte was taken out in the 8th not because he’s much worse against righties, than lefties, because that’s not so. He was taken for a very good reason: Billy Butler hits like Vlad Guerrero against LHP and like Cody Ransom against RHP.

      Is it really asking too much of Jose Veras to get one stinkin’ out a day after he pitches 1 1/3 innings? I’d like to think it isn’t.


      Right now, Phil Coke IS one of their best pitchers, or at least he was thought of as one of their best before today. Now AFTER today, the pecking order may change, but you’re not going to change it before you see bad things happen a second time. No sane manager would. Every manager I’d ever seen would allow for a single bad outing by a reliever, evern a young one, especially if he’d had nothing but good outings in about 12 major league appearances before. Only on the Yankees, with this level of expectation and sense of entitlement, with this fan base, is this given even a second thought.

    6. Evan3457
      April 12th, 2009 | 10:17 pm

      Let’s run through this game from the bottom of the 7th as it actually happened…

      Despite a terribly weak lineup due to injury and necessary rest and cautious rest, despite Joba struggling in the 3rd and 4th innings, they get to the bottom of the 7th with a 4-3 lead. The Royals have righty hitters lined up in the 7th, and the heart of their order, all lefty hitters, is set up for the eighth.

      1) Do you throw away the platoon advantage for the next two innings, in a 1-run game, to keep the set-up relievers in “their innings”? I wouldn’t. Girardi didn’t.

      2) For the first five of six outs, it works. The Yanks have arrived at two outs, bases empty, bottom of the 8th, 1-run lead. Is it really too much to expect their 3rd and 4th best setup men to hold a 1-run lead for one stinking out? If your answer is yes, how can you ever think about using them in a close game in the 6th or 7th?

      3) Girardi correctly brings in a righty to take away Billy Butler’s massive platoon advantage against lefties. Veras fails to retire him, walking him on four pitches. Correct move; it doesn’t work.

      4) Now Girardi has a hard choice. Marte and Bruney have been used. Let’s run through the options, in order:

      I) Use Mo for 4 outs. Assuming you decide this early enough in the inning to get him warmed in time, are you really using Mo here…for 4 outs…in April…in the cold and rain…against the Royals…on a 3-game winning streak…at age 39….recovering from shoulder surgery? Joe Torre wouldn’t have given it a thought. Neither should Giradi.

      II) Go to Phil Coke off his bad game in Baltimore, followed by a good outing in the finale. There’s no real reason not to use Coke, as Brayan Pena is a slightly better hitter from the right side, but a poor hitter from both.

      III) Stay with Veras, working his 2nd straight game, his command questionable after the 2-out walk.

      IV) Warm Edwar, with his awful record in tight games? Doubt it.

      V) Warm Albaladejo with little or no experience in any tight situations, and bring him in to this tight spot? Not happening.

      So the decision is down to: stay with Veras, or go with Coke. I can see it either way, but I would lean to Coke. That’s what Girardi did; it doesn’t work.

      And that’s the long and short of this. Three correct decisions. The first two work, the third doesn’t. One questionable decision that could go either way, and it goes against Girardi.

      Two relievers that could easily have accomplishd their tasks, but didn’t. That’s the story of this game.

      What makes it seem like there must be a right answer is that the loss is excruciating, emotionally, in that they could have stolen this game against a mostly dominant Meche with a bad lineup.

      Sometimes, you get a game with no right answer.

    7. Evan3457
      April 12th, 2009 | 10:17 pm

      Dang, forgot to close the italics.

      Hope this fixed that.

    8. Raf
      April 13th, 2009 | 8:18 am

      Girardi’s mistake was treating Marte as a LOOGY. He is capable of getting RH hitters out.

    9. Corey
      April 13th, 2009 | 9:52 am

      sucks too cause when i saw the lineup i thought : “there’s no way they’ll win this game” then they had to go and get my hopes up

    10. ken
      April 13th, 2009 | 12:08 pm

      Evan: I like reading your analysis but it is not complete.

      Raf: I agree with you.

      What Evan failed to consider is that Girardi should have thought about what would happen if he brings in Veras and doesn’t get Butler out. He should have realized that it would be a scenario to avoid. Taking that to it’s conclusion: leave in Marte.

    11. roadrider
      April 13th, 2009 | 12:08 pm

      Basically what Girardi did yesterday was go through enough pitchers until he found one who was having a bad enough day to cost him the game. I have never bought into the La Russa model for bullpen usage. Your best relievers should be used when the game is on the line not to mop up three-run leads for one inning. Rivera would have pitched the ninth yesterday so there’s no reason for him not to have been used because of the weather conditions.

      If you want to stick to the model where Rivera only pitches the ninth then explain why Chamberlain could not pitch the seventh yesterday leaving only one inning to expose the rest of the bullpen instead of two or why Bruney, who threw very well could not do so for another inning. Yes, I know about the lefty-righty matchups but it’s not like matching up worked out so why not just stick with a guy who’s throwing well?

      To me, this was a clear case of over managing.

    12. butchie22
      April 13th, 2009 | 2:01 pm

      In the case of Evan’s analysis 2 out of 3 is bad! Gym Teacher Joe spun it with the whole stat matchup sort of deal. Look Coke didn’t get the job done from the Yankee perspective, period. Invariably, that’s what it simply boils down to . Like I had said in another post, Meche pitched well enough and the Royals stayed in the game. It was more of a case of the Royals winning that game as opposed to the Yankees losing it.

    13. Evan3457
      April 13th, 2009 | 2:14 pm

      It’s not like Marte was dominating out there. He gave up one routine fly ball, and then a flyball down the line that Melky had to make a fine running catch on in the rain and sloppy grounds to take away a double.

      Further, Joe has seen Marte give up big HRs to righty hitters in key spots.

      Further still, Butler is far, far better against lefties than righties.

      Guys; it’s a 1-run game. A HR ties it; a double puts the tying run one hit from scoring. I’m sorry, but Marte is not that much better than Veras, at least not right now, to justify not taking him out. Veras has to get Butler there, that’s his job. He didn’t do his job.

      Chamberlain doesn’t get the 7th inning there because he struggled mid-game, because he still hasn’t built up his arm all the way, because it’s his 1st start of the season, and his 1st game action in 10 days, and because after his earlier struggling, the team, with its weakened lineup has managed to rally for the lead, and it’s time for Girardi to take out Joba to give him a good note to leave on.

      Later in the season, with only 88 pitches thrown, he would be given the 7th inning. But not yet.
      Finally, you can’t drop Coke from important innings based on one bad outing in Baltimore. If you believed in the guy based on one good month, and a good spring training, you don’t bury him for one bad outing. He even had a decent outing in his 2nd game against the O’s. Girardi had every reason to expect him to be able to get one out. He didn’t.

      If Coke can handle his failures and recover, then you’ve got a pitcher. If not, he gets demoted, and you try someone else. But either way, you don’t decide this BEFORE you give him a couple of more chances in key spots, and certainly not on the basis of one bad game. No sane organization makes decisions like that.

      If you can’t trust Coke and Veras to get one out in the 8th inning in a close game, how can you trust them to get multiple key outs in the 6th and 7th innings of close games?

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