WTF, Joe?

September 13, 2010 – 11:16 pm

Tampa Bay 1, NYY 0. Hard to figure if this one was just a very tough loss, or yet more ugliness. Anytime your ace throws eight innings of two-hit shutout ball and you can’t turn that in to a win, well, that’s pretty ugly. But then again, this was arguably the two best pitchers in the league going up against each other, so given that David Price matched everything CC did, then maybe you just have to tip your hat to both of them and move on.

But….. and there’s a big BUT here — what the hell is going on with Joe Girardi’s managing these days? Now I can kinda see Posada’s attempted steal in the fifth — there are two outs, and with Kearns, Granderson, and then Golson coming up it’s not like you’re looking at a big inning. Best you are going to do is one run anyway, so why not hope Posada can surprise them, end up on second, and then score on a Kearns single? So that one made at least a little sense.

But then Posada gets on in the eighth with no outs, and you don’t go into full-out small ball mode? In that situation you absolutely have to (a) pinch run for Posada and (b) have Kearns bunt. But instead we got neither. Wow, just wow.

And then in the tenth Gardner tries to steal third with two outs? That just can not happen. Now I’m guessing Gardner did that on his own, but therein lies the problem. I do like me some Brett Gardner, but danged if he has ever shown any real baseball IQ when it comes to stealing bases. He’s forever not running when he should be, and running when he shouldn’t be. Girardi should be telling him exactly what to do and when, leaving nothing up to him. Particularly in late inning situations when the game is on the line. There’s no excuse for what happened there.

And then in the eleventh, with Kearns on first and no outs, Granderson is set to sacrifice him over to second. OK, that makes sense, even though you’ve got a weak, inexperienced hitter in Colin Curtis coming up next. But then when the count goes to 2-0, he’s still bunting? Sorry, at that point you have to give Granderson a green light to either try to work a walk, or sit on a fastball.

And finally….. what is the deal with continually using Chad Gaudin in important games that are tied up in the late innings? Gaudin is fine for a long reliever, but this was not a situation where he’s the guy you want. He did manage to escape, only to have Sergio Mitre give up the game loser, but still — Girardi’s bullpen management of late has become rather questionable.

So bottom line, The Rays are now in first place and definitely in the driver’s seat to win the division. And the Yankee skid is now at four straight losses, and seven out of the last eight. They’ve pretty much erased the entire eight-game winning streak from ten days ago, and are now two games below .500 for the month of September.

Oh, and want some more cheery news? Don’t look now, but Mark Teixeira has quietly reverted right back to where he was in April and May. For the month of September, he’s now hitting .209, with a SLG of .255, and not a single home run.

At this point I’m almost hoping that maybe the White Sox will get red hot and steal the wild card from the Yankees and put them out of their misery. Box Score | FanGraphs Game Graph | PitchFX Game Tool

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