Generally it is easier to take a test after you have seen the answers, but in this case I am still not sure. Was Girardi right to start A.J. Burnett?
5 innings in, I thought Girardi made the right move. Burnett was pitching like he wanted to prove something to all of us. Wanting to prove people wrong is a powerful motivator. He gave up a couple of runs in the 3rd, other than that he looked great.
The 6th inning? I'd put a lot of that on Girardi for 2 reasons. 1) I hate the intentional walk in that spot. Hate it. Come on Joe, Dwayne Murphy is the batter that scares you? Yeah, he's pretty ok. .291 hitter and a left-handed bat. But then he has only had 12 home runs on the season. Odds are he isn't going to hit one here. At that point, with just one guy on base, if he singles or doubles it is only 1 run and the game is tied, if he did hit a homer, you are down by 1. No big deal. But having AJ walk him takes his attention off the strike zone for a moment and I want him to keep focused on the strike zone. Add in that you are putting the go ahead run on base and I hate that walk. It's over-managing.
Girardi complaint 2: Once you have walked Murphy, why aren't you taking AJ out of the game. He has thrown 97 pitches to that point. He hasn't pitched in a long time and he's AJ Burnett. For me, he had to be on a short leash. I'd have been happy he got me 5 innings and had someone up and ready to go in at the first sign of trouble in the 6th. Single to lead off the inning? I run out there, shake the guy's hand, take the ball and let the Yankee fans cheer him as he walks off the field. Maybe he isn't a hero but, taken out at that point, it would have been a better performance than most figured on.
Yeah, his bullpen has been awful but you knew AJ wasn't going deep in the game anyway. If you can't trust your pen, you were going to lose that one anyway. As it turned out, the bullpen was awful, so maybe it didn't matter that Girardi left AJ in.
I still think I would have started CC, but then it could have worked out for the Yankees. If they had won last night, things would have been set up pretty nicely for them. They had to win that game though. Tommy Hunter starting for the Rangers? If you can't beat him, you don't deserve to move to the World Series. The Yankees can win 3 games in a row, but it is much tougher when Cliff Lee is one of the pitchers they have to beat.
It was an interesting game. Cano hits a home run in the 2nd where the fans clearly tried to interfere with the outfielder going for the catch. The call wasn't reviewed, but it likely was the right call. A slight digression, but has there ever been a color commentator as bad as John Smoltz? I mean, I dislike Rance Mulliniks' work in the booth as much as anyone, but compared to Smoltz, he is brilliant. Anyway, after that home run, Smoltz tell us they have to move the fans further back saying 'We've all seen that a thousand times". Really John? You've seen fan interference on a home run a thousand times? I watch a lot of baseball and I've seen it maybe a handful of times. Yes I think fans that interfere should be thrown out. I think the idiot fan that pushed at Cruz' glove should have been tossed as if he refused to stand for God Bless American. (speaking of that song, did you notice Zooey Deschanel sang it at the Giants/Phillies game. Talk about your mixed emotions. Song I hate, sung by a woman who's picture is in the dictionary beside the word perfection. First time I haven't changed the channel on that song ever. You don't think she's perfect? Watch this or this or this. Or waste an hour watching She and Him videos on YouTube, like I just did. Oh yes...I was writing a post). What was I talking about? Right, John Smoltz is awful as a commentator. As a fan, I hate any suggestion that fans should be moved further away from the field. Who is the game for anyway John?
An out later, a home run is reviewed and overturned.
I am always glad to see the Yankees lose. I think it is funny that, after Rays' fans were slagged for leaving early during a playoff game, that the Yankees were playing in front of 40,000 empty seats by the 8th inning. Tell us again how wonderful Yankee fans are please.