Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Does Joe even care?

Posted by flyingbk on 10/19/2010

Three days ago, this guy on Twitter, incarceratedbob, tweeted the following:
**BREAKING NEWS** 3 Sources have confirmed that Joe Girardi will not re-up as Yankees manager after the year is over.

I began following him because I heard that he’s very good with breaking news. He was the first to report the Randy Moss and Deion Branch deals, so I’ve been paying attention.

And ever since he tweeted that Girardi tidbit, I’ve wondered how much Joe even cares about winning this year. It’s like he’s already checked out mentally. It started with his bizarre roster for the American League Division Series, in which he decided to carry about 15 long relievers.

But watching these last two games against the Rangers have made me wonder more. In Game 3, with the Yankees down 2-0 in the 9th inning, Joe decided against bringing in Mariano Rivera to hold the deficit to two. A few minutes later, it’s 8-0, and the game is over. Now, most managers wouldn’t use their closer down 2 runs in the 9th, but it would’ve made lots of sense here. You give your team a chance to make a momentum-swinging comeback against Cliff Lee, who had thrown 122 pitches (granted, it didn’t look like Lee was slowing down). It just seemed like Girardi couldn’t be bothered to make the slightly unconventional yet correct move.

Last night’s game was much more whack. The Yankees are threatening in the bottom of the 4th, Rangers scrub hurler Tommy Hunter is on the ropes, and yet Joe doesn’t pinch-hit for Cervelli with Posada. Cervell is a terrible hitter and overall a completely worthless player; it’s laughable that some Yankee fans once thought that he should be the starting catcher. (Full disclosure: He is my least favorite Yankee. I’ve never seen such an astronomical Demonstrative Moments : Actual Talent ratio. It’s off the charts). Posada needs to hit there; even if you buy the nonsensical premise that Cervelli helps A.J. Burnett pitch better (how did that work out?), Burnett was only going to pitch 1-2 more innings, tops. Girardi said thanks, but not thanks.

Then right before the turning point of the game, the Bengie Molina 3-run bomb, Girardi intentionally walks David Murphy. It’s conventional (and good) wisdom that you don’t put on the go-ahead run, but I felt like Joe was like, what the heck, let’s just do it. (By the way, John Smoltz thought this was a good move. Schmoltzie, you are 1/3 of the worst postseason broadcasting trio ever. And it pains me to write that because I love Ernie Johnson, a Christian who overcame cancer, and is a great studio host who has no business being a baseball play-by-play man. And I love Ron Darling too, but all three have been cover-your-ears awful with their platitudes and complete lack of incisive analysis).

But then the kicker. The Yankees are threatening in the bottom of the 8th, thanks to more Ron Washington managerial bloopers and a home plate umpire who decided to tighten his strike zone. The bases are loaded with 2 out, and Lance Berkman strides to the plate against Darren Oliver, a southpaw. Berkman has absolutely no business hitting in that spot. He hasn’t touched lefties for years (.171 this season), and you have a guy on your bench, Austin Kearns, who can actually hit lefties. In fact, isn’t this particular spot the whole point of carrying Kearns on your roster (since Thames was already in the game due to Teixeira’s injury)? You have to use Kearns there, and hope that he comes up big. But Joe’s asleep at the wheel, and Berkman grounds out, albeit sharply.

Obviously, I don’t really think that Girardi doesn’t care; I would be accusing him of utter unprofessionalism and malfeasance. But it’s my pet conspiracy theory, and it’s fun. Not as much fun as seeing the Yankees go down in flames (and seeing tons of fans leave the game early- pathetic, you homers!), but still quite entertaning.

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