So far it’s all worked out, and the Yankees are rightfully in first place where they belong. The Yanks are winning in spite of Joe Girardi lately, not because of him.
Girardi continues to make the same boneheaded managerial decisions that he did last year. The only difference is that this year, so far, he has gotten away with it. Last year he didn’t.
For example, take today’s game against the Cubs. Girardi once again benched his team’s leading hitter, Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro is the only .421 hitter in major league history whose manager feels he’s a benchwarmer. He’s a lifetime .320 hitter who’s hitting .421 this year. But he doesn’t get to play. Yes, Elsbury and Beltran are playing better than expected and yes, Brett Gardner is doing way better than we at Yankees Truth expected. But still, Girardi has to give Ichiro some shots at DH, especially when Soriano is struggling so far. All that being said, the Yankees continue to win with Ichiro on the bench, But that’s not a winning formula in the long run.
Last year, for example, Girardi did the same thing with Ichiro. He benched him often. Girardi evidently felt that Ben Francisco was a better right fielder and a better hitter and a faster runner. Girardi thought that Brett Lillibridge was a better DH than Ichiro. On days when Clueless Joe DID allow Ichiro to play, he’d bat him 7th one day, then 8th the next, then 6th, etc. Ichiro was never given any consistency at all, and his numbers fell off. Compare that to how they managed him in Seattle. Whether it was Bob Melvin or Sweet Lou Piniella, the Mariners managers ALWAYS led off with Ichiro. He bats first and hits .320. Period. It’s not complicated. He thrives on consistency, and Girardi gave him none. Instead, Clueless Joe felt that a bunch of other guys last year deserved to lead off. And Girardi’s decisions landed us in the cellar.
Girardi’s other consistent gaffe is when he takes out pitchers who are doing well and leaves in pitchers who are struggling. In the Cubs game, Girardi watched Masahiro Tanaka throw eight beautiful innings. He was striking out every other Cub. Only gave up two measely hits. So what was his reward? What did Girardi do with the hottest pitcher? He benched him. It is mind-numbingly frustrating to see that Joe Girardi has zero perception of momentum. He is clueless when it comes to figuring out who’s playing well and who’s not. Today we lucked out.
Shawn Kelly came in and promptly gave up a hit. I guess Tanaka wasn’t good enough for Girardi. He decided that a guy who breezed through the Cubs for 8 innings wasn’t good enough to end the game. Instead, he brought in an untested and ice cold Kelly, who tried hard to blow the game, but he couldn’t.
By comparison, look how badly Sabathia got shelled on opening day, yet Girardi kept him in. A guy like Tanaka gives up zero runs and gets benched. Another guy like CC gives up runs left and right and he gets to stay in. Can anyone explain Clueless Joey G’s logic here?
Again, the Yanks need to tread lightly around Girardi’s decisions. He is making the same mistakes he did last year, again and again. But this year, the player’s are overcoming their manager. Let’s hope it continues.