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If It Weren't for Managers What Would We Talk About?

Watching managers in the playoffs makes me long for Cito Gaston's minimalist approach to managing a baseball game. The 9th inning of tonight's game there were a bunch of interesting moves. Angel's closer Brian Fuentes got the first two outs of the inning quickly, admittedly there was a fair bit of luck that Johnny Damon's hard line drive was right at the first basemen. Then the Angels intentionally walked ARod.

I'm not a big fan of the intentional walk. In this case it put the tying run on base. But then a lefty pitcher walking ARod to face lefty Hideki Matsui, who was having a terrible series, that's the moment managers are going to intentionally walk someone because if ARod hits one out, he is fired. But I hate taking the pitchers attention away from the strike zone. And tonight was a perfect example, Fuentes walked Matsui, after the intentional walk and then hit Robinson Cano with a pitch to load the bases. Then he goes to a full count on Nick Swisher before getting the final out. So all ends well, but it was tense.

Yankee's manager, Joe Girardi, made an interesting move too. After ARod's intentional walk, Girardi replaced him with a pitch-runner. Now ARod has pretty decent speed, 14 steals with 2 caught stealing. Freddy Guzman, who was the pinch-runner, is faster, but what's the gain? Is there a 2% better chance of Guzman scoring compared to ARod. And if they tied the game and ARod's spot came around, instead of having one of the best hitters in the history of the game, the Yankees would have had, likely, Jerry Hairston up. They also pinch-ran for Matsui, which I can understand much more. Matsui runs.....well like me when my knee is at its worst.

On another subject, I hate is when umpires allow a team to stall so that a reliever can get ready to go into the game. In the 8th inning tonight, Joba Chamberlain came into the game and was terrible. With one out and two on, the Yankees suddenly decide Mariano Rivera needs to come into the game, but they didn't have him warming. So Derek Jeter goes to talk to Joba, then Jorge Posada, then the pitching coach, then Joba throws to first a half dozen times and Rivera comes into the game. Mr. Rogers wonders if you can say 'making a mockery of the game'. Yeah you can, but these are the Yankees and they are allowed to do that. And Yankee fans wonder why people hate their team.