Girardi Trying too Hard?

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It is always tough to lose a close game but a game in extra innings in the LCS is a real test for a team and manager. Pundits this morning are chastizing Yankee manager Joe Girardi for his "pre emptive" moves which if they are successful fans will give him credit for being an alert manager but if they fail like yesterday then they are are termed "overmanaging." Keep in mind that Girardi has managed less than 500 games going into the post season and this is his first time in the postseason; that makes him 'the rookie' in this season's pool of AL postseason managers. Jim Leyland (2800+ games, 49 postseason), the Angels' Mike Scioscia (1600+ games, 42 postseason), the Red Sox' Terry Francona (1600+ games, 45 postseason), and Twins' Ron Gardenhire (1280+ games, 25 postseason). Leyland, Scioscia each have a World Series ring, and Francona has two.

Girardi is trying very hard to close the deal for the Yanks and their fans but yesterday may have been a case of trying too hard for the Yanks skipper.

Example # 1 was in the 6th inning when Girardi interrupted the flow of the game to address Pettite and Posada, 2 of his most tested veterans of post season play, on a key pitch to Vlad Guerrero. In some cases the manager might call a pitch from the dugout or send out the pitching coach to address pitch selection; other times make sure the catcher and pitcher discuss it themselves before making a decision but in this case Girardi inserted his will into the game and it backfired with the 2 run HR by Guerrero to tie the game.

Example # 2

Taking Johnny Damon out of the game. Johnny Damon is one of the Yanks proven veterans and dependable clutch hitters and he took him out of the game for Jerry Hairston who is clearly a lesser defensive and offensive player. Not only did he take Damon out but when he moved Hairston to LF he lost his DH which in just about every situation will weaken your club offensively and should be avoided. In this case, the Damon move and losing the DH may also have forced the manager's hand when he chose to pinch hit for his pitcher Mariano Rivera and take him out of the game with 2 outs and nobody on in the 11th. Of course Rivera is the best reliever in the history of MLB post season play.

Example # 3

Dave Robertson came in the 11th and handily got the first 2 outs with excellent stuff and delivery and continued his very good work in the post season which already includes 2 wins. Inexplicably Girardi removes him for Alfredo Aceves who comes in and proceeds to throw 2 pitches up in the strike zone with nothing on them to lose the game.

If the Yanks lose the ALCS you can point to this game turning around the Series; If they advance and win the pennant consider it on the job training for their skipper. Do you think George wants to hear about on the job training in the playoffs this morning?