Management of the pitching staff will surely be the hot topic of tonight’s Yankees loss in Anaheim. Joe Girardi went to the mound to talk to Andy Pettitte before Vladimir Guerrero came to the plate in the sixth, and Guerrero hit a two-run, game-tying home run. Girardi pulled Pettitte after 95 pitches to give the ball to Joba Chamberlain, whose first pitch went for a triple that led to a run. Girardi turned to Alfredo Aceves with two outs and the bases empty in the 11th, and the game was over seven pitches later.
“We have all the matchups and all the scouting reports,” Girardi said of the Aceves decision. “And we felt that, you know, it was a better matchup for us.”
“I’m not going to get into specifics of why,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “We just liked the matchup better, and Ace had (Howie Kendrick) where he wanted to, he just couldn’t make the pitch to put him away. And still, it was a five-hopper up the middle or a 10-hopper up the middle, but he just wasn’t able to make that one pitch to put him away.”
The decision to talk to Pettitte before the Guerrero at-bat seems curious. I’m not sure exactly what was said out there — and the Yankees clearly had information they wanted Pettitte to keep in mind – but I’m not sure you want to disrupt a pitcher’s rhythm for that at-bat, especially when that pitcher is a been-there, done-that veteran like Pettitte.
“He missed his spot,” Eiland said. “That’s all I can tell you. Wish I could tell you more but we still have games to play against them.”
One debatable decision that had nothing to do with the pitching staff was the decision to put Jerry Hairston into left field in place of Johnny Damon in the 10th inning. The move eliminated the DH and took Damon’s bat out of the lineup, which mattered a great deal when Francisco Cervelli had to pinch hit in front of Mark Teixeira with two outs in the top of the 11th.
“You have to put yourself in a situation where if the ball is hit directly at the left fielder, you maybe give yourself a better chance,” Damon said. “Jerry does have a better arm than I do, so I can’t disagree with that. Unfortunately it didn’t come to him and he did not make a play, and unfortunately we lose my bat the next inning.”