But why not leave Joba Chamberlain in to pitch the ninth inning last night?
Jobamania has just retired four batters in a row, three by strikeout. He dominated Ramon Hernandez and Jay Payton. The Orioles has Adam Jones, Alex Cintron and Brian Roberts due up in the ninth. Jones and Cintron are 0 for 1 against Joba in their careers. Roberts had never faced him. The Yankees were up by two runs.
Mariano Rivera had thrown 31 pitches over two innings the night before. Let him get a night off and leave the kid in to pitch. With the way Joba was throwing, Baltimore had no chance.
But, no, enter Sandman. Mo did his job and that was that. When I asked Joe Girardi whether he considered leaving Chamberlain in the game, he looked at me askance.
“Mo was coming in for a save situation no matter what,” he said.
Joe Girardi may have the Baseball Prospectus annual on his bookshelf and he knows how to turn on his laptop. But unless I’m missing something, he manages pretty much like Joe Torre. If anything, he’s more conservative. The Yankees rarely steal bases or hit-and-run.
His bullpen management is fairly identical as well. The Yankees have relievers who pitch when they can win (Mo, Farnsworth, Joba) and those for lost causes (Ohlendorf, Hawkins, Veras, Britton) and those they can’t quite decide on (Ramirez). Just like Torre (and every other manager in the game), he uses his closer in conventional closer situations.
Which is fine. Thinking that way won a lot of games for a lot of years. I thought Torre did just well for the most part outside of abusing certain relievers. The best way to manage a team like the Yankees is to leave the players alone and let them play to their means.
But those out there who believed Girardi would be this number-crunching innovator must be wondering what happened.
Girardi is far, far more involved in player development, which is great. It also seems he’s much more invested in using scouting reports to prepare for games. Nothing escapes him. I think he’s a sharp guy and was a good choice to replace Torre.
But when you watch the games, is there that much of a difference than last season?