For starters, I can’t fault Joe Girardi for not using Mariano Rivera in the 8th inning. Mo is a 39-year-old coming off shoulder surgery and did not throw more than one inning all spring training. Oh, and it was raining and 40 degrees. Part of a manager’s job is making sure his players stay healthy.
Beyond that, it was set up perfectly:
• Bruney faced Bloomquist, Crisp and Aviles in the seventh. That left Marte for three lefties in a row: DeJesus, Teahen and Jacobs.
DeJesus and Teahen went down, then KC pinch hit Butler, a right-handed hitter who murders lefties (.956 career OPS). So Girardi went to a RHP in Veras.
This is where the game was lost. Jose Veras cannot walk Butler on five pitches. He just can’t. But he did. This is why I think in a few months it’ll be Mark Melancon or Dave Robertson in that spot.
• Then Phil Coke came in, was all over the place and they lost. The one thing you can question Girardi on, I think, is bringing in Coke to face Brayan Pena. I mean, it’s Brayan Pena.
Is turning him around really that big of a deal? Pena came to the plate 0 for 4 this season. In his career he is .222/.232/.296 against RHP and .234/.280/.340 against LHPs. I think you can leave Veras in. Veras has much more experience than Coke.
It’s the technically correct move to use Coke. If you have the lefty, you might as well use him. But I think sometimes the Yankees get a little carried away with matchups.
Here’s Joe Girardi talking about it:
All that said, bad loss. Joba pitched well and they got nothing for it.