Results tagged ‘ Bob Montgomery ’
Yankees manager Joe Girardi took a lot of heat in the media for the way he managed the ninth inning Thursday night against the White Sox, who pulled out a 4-3 victory on Dayan Viciedo’s three-run home run off David Robertson. I do not think all the criticism is warranted.
One area in which Girardi has showed real expertise as a manager is handling the bullpen, which is a far easier job we all know when Mariano Rivera is around. Mo has been out of the picture since early May and yet the Yankees have thrived largely because of their relief work. Rafael Soriano, an experienced closer, has done a good job spelling Rivera and the other relievers have responded well to Girardi’s mix-and-match system.
Boone Logan and Cody Eppley did great work getting out of an eighth-inning jam Thursday night to bail out Ivan Nova. Had Soriano been available, he surely would have worked the ninth with the Yanks ahead, 3-1, and been in line for a save. The righthander had pitched four of the previous five days and was not sharp in his last outing, so Girardi decided to let Eppley start the ninth against a right-handed batter, Alex Rios, who singled, and bring in lefthander Clay Rapada to face the left-handed batting A.J. Pierzynski.
Girardi looked pretty smart when Pierzynski hit a dribbling roller back to the mound that had “double play” written all over it. Then Rapada threw the ball wide left of Derek Jeter covering second base and into center field, and suddenly Girardi got a whole lot dumber. That forced him to bring in Robertson, who gave up the Viciedo bomb on a 1-0 fastball.
Why didn’t Girardi simply let Robertson start the ninth inning? That is what a lot of reporters wanted to know after the game. Truth be told, so did Robertson, at least judging from his body language in the clubhouse after the game. Girardi explained that Robertson missed considerable time this year because of injury and he is being cautious with him.
To me, that is a reasonable explanation. Besides, if Rapada doesn’t throw away two outs, there is probably no need to have a conversation about all this. Managerial moves are judged positively or negatively based on execution. Rapada’s lack of it is what cost the Yankees in that inning, not the bullpen manipulation by the manager.
The home run allowed to Viciedo was the first go-ahead jack allowed by a Yankees pitcher in the ninth inning working with a lead since the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki hit a walk-off, two-run homer off Rivera Sept. 9, 2009 at Seattle with the Yanks leading 2-1. It was the first such homer with the Yanks leading by at least two runs since Marco Scutaro’s three-run walk-off homer off Rivera April 15, 2007 at Oakland with the Yankees up, 4-2. The previous time an opponent hit a go-ahead homer when down by at least two runs in the ninth or later at Yankee Stadium was the Red Sox’ Bob Montgomery July 28, 1972 off Sparky Lyle in the first game of a doubleheader with the Yankees ahead, 5-3.