Longtime readers know that I'm no Girardi basher, but he has done such a poor job with decision-making this series that Squawker Jon and I were musing last night what were the chances that be fired if the Yankees lose the ALCS. And what Joe did in the sixth was just ridiculous.
Guess Girardi never heard of that "leaving on a high note" adage. He should have pulled Burnett after Vladimir Guerrero's hit. At that point, A.J. was at 90 or so pitches. Burnett could have left the cheers from the crowd, with a well-pitched game, and something to build on for the future. Instead, Girardi got a little too cute, deciding to leave him in, and then intentionally walking David Murphy to pitch to Bengie Molina. This, even though he had Joba Chamberlain warmed up in the bullpen. I thought Girardi would keep Burnett on a short leash, but instead, the leash was long enough for A.J. to get caught in.
Incidentally, did you see that Burnett nearly threw the ball away in one of the intentional walk pitches? That should have been yet another clue to Girardi that Burnett was about to turn into a pumpkin.
I didn't watch the postgame last night because he was too angry after the loss. But Jon did, and he thought Girardi was awfully defensive. New York Post columnist Joel Sherman wrote about what the manager said, and I pretty much agree with Sherman's take on what happened last night (emphasis added).
Girardi had Mariano Rivera for as much as two innings, a remnant of the manager’s iffy choice not to use the closer to keep the Yankees within 2-0 in the ninth inning of Game 3. So Girardi would have had to fill just two set-up innings here.
But he got greedy or caught up in the moment....
“If you take A.J. out there and you give up a couple of runs, people say, ‘Why did you take A.J. out?’“ Girardi said.
No, that would not have been the conversation. New York is now well versed on Burnett. No one could think it was a good idea to have him on the mound at that moment: tying run in scoring position, go-ahead run on first, season on the brink. Burnett has spent a career breaking hearts, throwing the pitch he absolutely could not at the wrong time.
And he did here....
Girardi had given a baseball arsonist matches and the Yankees season went up in flames.I agree with Sherman, something I don't say very often!
One last note -- Squawker Jon sez Molina's homer is bad karma on me for trash-talking Jon for four years about Yadier Molina's homer against the Mets. By the way, last night was the fourth anniversary of that event.
What do you think? Tell us about it.