Apr
06

Bullpen management extends beyond one game (or, DMORM)

By

(Frank Franklin II/AP)

Predictably, the complaints came rolling in last night. Joe Girardi used his second best reliever for a second straight day in order to preserve a four-run lead. When Rafael Soriano went on to essentially blow the game, the outrage was equally predictable. Girardi’s bullpen management had struck again, costing the Yankees a game they seemingly had in the bag.

Yesterday represented the first opportunity fans had to first- and second-guess the manager. It will hardly be the last. A field manager has hundreds, even thousands, of decisions to make every season. It is inevitable that he will screw up on multiple occasions. The better ones make fewer mistakes than their peers, but even the best will blunder and cost their teams games.

Thinking about it in stat nerd terms, this is akin to replacement level. There is a baseline for decision making — that is, there is a certain level of blundering that all managers will reach during the course of the season. We can essentially forget about that, since you can find a random manager on the street who will still make those errors of judgment. A manager’s on-field value lies in his ability to stay as close to that baseline as possible. Let’s call it Decision Making Over Replacement Manager. I think that Girardi’s is quite high.

When we question a manager’s moves, we’re mainly focusing on the micro. That is, the moves we feel are correct count for that game and that game only. Maybe it takes immediate past and immediate future games into account — part of the reason for disliking Girardi’s use of Soriano is that he pitched yesterday, and there’s a game tomorrow — but it doesn’t take into account the management of an entire season. That’s something that Girardi, or any manager, has to consider when he makes his moves. While he’s managing to win the game, he’s also managing to win throughout the season. In the last three years, Girardi has shown that he’s very good with long-term management.

While the bullpens during Girardi’s tenure have typically gotten off to slow starts, they’ve always finished among the best in the league. When we get to long stretches of games in August and September, he always has a fresh, quality reliever to use in a tight spot. That’s because he does a good job of managing each pitcher’s workload throughout the season. This stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, Joe Torre, who went only with his favorites. Questioning his decisions was one thing, because it seemed as though every year he’d tire out his best relievers and ended up with a bare cupboard later in the season. This just has not been the case with Girardi.

This isn’t to say that I agreed with the use of Soriano there. After the game Girardi explained that the idea was to use Soriano in his normal role, the eighth inning, so that he could hand the ball to David Robertson, and not Mariano Rivera, in the ninth. I guess that means he had more faith in Soriano than Robertson to pitch a scoreless inning. You can agree or disagree with that logic — I don’t much like it, for the record. But this is just one of many decisions that go into a season’s worth of bullpen management.

Maybe another manager wouldn’t have made this specific mistake. But he might err in other areas that make it tougher for him to manage an entire 162-game season. During the last three years Girardi has proven that, while he makes odd decisions at inopportune times, in the long view he takes care of his bullpen. That’s all that’s really important. His individual decisions might set us off, but his overall decision making, as proven in three years, has been well above his peers.

If you want some proof, watch another game for an extended stretch and see how their manager deals with bullpen management. Read another team’s blog for a while — we have a growing list of team blogs that we use as a resource. You’ll see plenty of instances where the manager’s decision gets questioned. Yet few of these managers have the track record that Girardi has when it comes to managing a bullpen during a full season. That is, in the long run, Girardi’s DMORM is higher than that of his peers.

When Rafael Soriano showed up on my TV screen last night, I scratched my head. Why use him there, with a four-run lead, when Robertson had been warming up the previous inning? But then I appreciated Girardi’s refusal to take a four-run lead for granted. Then I remembered his long-run track record during the past three years. It all made the decision easier to bear. I might not have liked it. You might not have liked it. But given what he’s done with the bullpen in the last three years, I’m not about to complain about one game. It seems kind of silly, given what we know about the bigger picture.

Categories : Coaching Staff

120 Comments»

  1. BklynJT says:

    I agree. As mad as I wanted to be at Girardi, I really couldn’t get myself to that point yesterday.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      I think this sums up how I felt; I was annoyed at the loss and would have liked an outlet but there really wasn’t one beyond Soriano’s inability to locate. I thought bringing him in rather than D-Rob was dumb simply because it wasn’t necessary, not because it hurt our chances of winning. Blaming the loss on Girardi is stupid unless you believe that D-Rob is better than Soriano or that consecutive days equals gassed for a reliever. And believing either of those two things is probably dumber than bringing in Soriano in a 4 run game.

    • rek4gehrig says:

      Moi aussi. Plus I promised myself that I will not get mad in April. Soriano was unusually off last night. I dont forsee that happening often.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Yeah. I wasted all my Tuesday anger on the Callahan injury, I just couldn’t muster much at all for a loss in Game 5.

  2. Well said.

    I too thought it was a little curious that Joe went to Soriano there in that scenario, but there’s certainly oodles of reasonably justified reasons why he did (and even why he stayed with him when he didn’t appear to have his premium stuff).

    The ugly truth that we don’t always want to face is that while every game matters, sometimes you make a move to establish some longer-term piece (like showing confidence in a guy or giving a guy some needed rest) that results in slightly lowering your chances of winning that day’s game.

    Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

    • I completely understand Joe trying to lock down yesterday’s game, he knows just like we do that you need to win the games where CC goes 7 shutout innings. But, like I said in the other thread, it was pretty clear that Soriano’s normally impeccable control was off and, once he loaded the bases, shouldn’t have been left in to face Mauer.

      • Chris says:

        On the flip side, there were two outs and one quality pitch would have been enough to end the inning. Sometimes you have to let pitchers fail so you can learn what they can and can’t handle. In this case, maybe Soriano is able to figure it out and start throwing strikes. That sort of knowledge could be very valuable down the road.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for says:

      Welcome back man. It’s been too long!

      Frankly I still want to hang Girardi, mostly for not yanking Sori until it was essentially too late. I had to keep checking to see if it wasn’t actually Torre in the dugout.

  3. JEFF says:

    I’m not going to question Girardi for his bullpen management last night. I might question leaving Swisher in the OF in the 8th inning of a 4-run game. An OF of Gardner, Grandy and Jones sees anyone of them play that ball better. Lead is preserved and we go home happy. This isn’t the first time this situation has occurred, the media needs to start questioning Girardi on it.

    • Zack says:

      Swisher was set to lead off the 8th inning, not taking his bat out of the lineup even with a 4-0 lead.

      And if you feel the media needs to question him about Swisher in RF, then he should have also replaced Jeter right?

      • OldYanksFan says:

        Ya think Jones is faster, or a better fielder then Swish?
        Maybe Brett gets that, but Swish was no where near catching it.
        It was a very lucky hit, blame and simply.

        Maybe a little bit of good Karma for the Twins.

  4. theyankeewarrior says:

    I agree. It’s not Joe’s fault. Sure, many of us would have liked to see D-Rob there, but he could have imploded as well.

    The thing that gets to me is that these pitchers lack the ability? smarts? to throw strikes with a big lead. I can understand if you just lose the zone, but Sori didn’t (IMO). It looked like he was trying to keep one run from scoring.

    If he was, that’s selfish, and it needs to change. Throw the ball over the plate 10 times in a row to the first two batters you face with a 4 run lead. Do not walk them both. Also, give up a fuckin Grand Slam before you walk in a run.

    Boone Logan made the same mistake, but that is probably just because he sucks.

    I’ll never understand why relievers come in and refuse to throw the ball over the plate. D-Rob took the mound and made it a 3-ball count before we could blink.

    Let’s hope the walking batters trend stops here.

    (glares over at Larry Rothschild)

    • Mike Axisa says:

      You’re giving them way too much credit. If they were able to throw a strike at will pitch after pitch, they wouldn’t be relievers.

      • Ed says:

        If you’re talking middle relievers, I’ll agree with that.

        If you’re talking about a good reliever, like Soriano, they usually have the control. They’re relievers because they don’t have the stuff and/or stamina to go through a lineup multiple times.

        • Big Apple says:

          late in games batters will often take the first pitch anyway…so, throwing that first pitch strike is even more important.

        • Chris says:

          Why did pitchers walk Gardner in the second half last year? It became painfully obvious that he wasn’t going to hit the ball hard, so why not just throw it down the middle? It’s not so easy to just lay it over the middle of the plate.

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        Maybe not every time, but I’m fairly certain that if Soriano made a point not to talk someone from the very first pitch, he wouldn’t get to ball 2.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      “If he was, that’s selfish, and it needs to change. Throw the ball over the plate 10 times in a row to the first two batters you face with a 4 run lead.”

      I imagine 10 straight get-me-overs will get Soriano in trouble far quicker than 10 normal pitches atleast 90% of the time. Last night was just an anomaly. It happens.

      • Big Apple says:

        also…if there is to be a meltdown i guess I’d rather see it that way with walks and bloops than him just getting hammered and hit hard b/c that would mean his stuff just isn’t good.

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        10 in a row it a bit harsh, but the point is, stop walking people, give up a bomb or a scorching liner before you walk a guy with a 4 run lead.

        • Mister Delaware says:

          But after the first walk, you can’t start doing the get me over routine because then you’re looking at a 2 run game. I’m not absolving Soriano, but it wasn’t a blowout where you can shrug off a 2 run HR like it doesn’t matter. Up 7, sure, you force them to hit back in. But only up 4 with a man (then men) on, he had to keep pitching.

          • OldYanksFan says:

            Yeah, but walks are a lot more common then HRs, especially to the 1-2 hitters of the Twins. I also agree ya gotta throw strikes ESPECIALLY with a 2+ run lead.

            Just a bad day for Sori.

  5. Will says:

    I’m likely not the first to say this, but I figured this is all part of the great conspiracy to rack up as many low-stress saves for Rivera as possible, so he’ll break the all-time record this year.

    On Saturday, a Nunez “error” brings in Rivera to get a 3-pitch, 1-out save with a 4-run lead.

    Yesterday, Soriano was in to be “wild” and give up a cheapo run in the 8th so that Rivera could get a 3-out, 2-pitch (he’d find a way) save in the 9th. Except Soriano was actually wild and blew it.

    Or maybe I’m just crazy.

  6. Drew says:

    I agree with what you’re saying, that yesterday was just one game, it’s just that people (especially most of us that read this blog and all those that write for it) eat, sleep, dream and shit Yankees baseball on an almost daily basis. I just don’t like the explanation that Soriano is “the 8th inning guy” I feel that you need to manage to the situation and for the long term. I just don’t like warming up Robertson 6 times in 5 games and using your 35 million dollar set up guy in a situation that doesn’t call for it. Again this is just one game and people tend to overreact (including myself) but Girardi has to be better than this, because he set up the Yankees for potential disaster today with neither of their best relievers available. Or maybe he just thinks Garcia will suck today and needed to win last night game. Who knows.

  7. Big Apple says:

    No matter the decisions a manager makes, pitcher still gotta pitch and players gotta play….Soriano couldn’t hit the strike zone at all last night so chalk it up to that…

    Many view games in April as meaningless, but losing one like this will hurt more if they miss the playoffs by one game. But…these also get cancelled out by similar comeback wins of their own.

    it is what it is…bullpens are as unpredictable as the weather.

  8. Big Apple says:

    Is it just me or does Boone Logan walk the first batter he faces in every outing?

  9. JerseyDutch says:

    I was pretty pissed at Girardi last night but after a good-night’s sleep, not so much. You can’t really blame the guy for going with his second-best reliever even after using him the day before. The only questionable move was keeping him in so long when he didn’t have his stuff.

    That bloop double was a killer though. I’d like to see some BABIP regression in our favor over the next few games.

  10. Ed says:

    I don’t care at all that Giradi used Soriano. However, the press conference after the game was just painful to listen to. The “Soriano is our 8th inning guy” answer to every question got old fast. Being that committed to the idea of an inning belonging to a reliever felt more like Torre’s style than Girardi’s.

  11. ZZ says:

    When a pitcher is so blatantly mechanically off like Soriano was, you don’t really learn anything about them. If he got out of that inning with no damage it would have been pure dumb luck, not some display of bearing down or however else you want to describe it.

  12. Kosmo says:

    Girardi made a mistake plain and simple.If Girardi went with Robbie in the 8th he STILL has Soriano and Rivera in the pen if needed.
    Girardi has to watch that he doesn´t undermine the confidence he´s shown in Robbie in the past.

  13. I think this is well said, as well. We get so caught up in the little things that we forget the big picture. Come September, when the whole bullpen is fresh and Girardi can mix and match them to get us the wins we need to make the postseason, no one will remember who he brought in in the 8th inning of a game in the beginning of April.

    • AndrewYF says:

      I still remember his bullpen foolishness of Easter Sunday ’09.

      Yankees up 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Marte had just easily set down his first two batters. Royals replace lefty-hitting Mike Jacobs with righty Billy Butler. You simply HAVE to play matchups, so Girardi brings in a decidedly worse pitcher Jose Veras. Veras predictably walks the only guy he faces. Now Girardi is fucked. He has no one left in the bullpen other than Phil Coke (and 40-year-old Rivera is off the table), and two switch hitters coming up. Coke predictably gives up hits to both of them. Joaquin Soria shuts down the Yankees in the top of the 9th. Game over.

      DON’T PLAY MATCHUPS LATE IN THE GAME WITH DECIDEDLY WORSE PITCHERS.

      I still don’t think he’s learned that lesson.

  14. ADam says:

    Make sure to send a thank you note to Randy Levine, Every time Soriano explodes… the 12 million dollar version of Kyle Farnesworth is among us

  15. Big Apple says:

    does anyone know if there are stats kept for the “percentage of walked batters that score”? For yankee releivers I’d swear it was at least 75%.

  16. Samuel says:

    Here is a novel idea:

    How about letting your No. 1 starting pitcher, your ace and big horse pitch more than seven innings in a game in which he is dominating.

    • Big Apple says:

      you won’t see that happen often in the beginning of the season.

    • Kosmo says:

      I considered that too.Give Sabathia 10 pitches to start the 8th.

    • It’s April. Ease the big horse into the year, we don’t want him straining anything in the early season cold.

      • Big Apple says:

        plus, the yanks have built a bullpen that should be able to protect a 4 run lead….last night was just one of those nights.

        • And, CC is going up against the Red Sox in his next start.

          • Samuel says:

            What does CC going up against the Red Sox next have to do with him pitching past 104 pitches/7 innings and winning last night’s game?

            The guy was cruising along (17 in a row!) and his legs were strong. If a pitcher has good mechanics, during a particular start it is only when the pitchers legs are getting weak when he is susceptible to injury from an individual performance.

            Going another inning and throwing 15 pitches is not going to hurt CC in his next start or even in September.

            • I’m glad you knew in advance that the next inning was only going to be 15 pitches. That would have been valuable for the rest of us to know.

              Shame on you for not enlightening us yesterday night when the information could have been useful.

              • Samuel says:

                TSJC,

                Try not to get cute Olympic Boy.

                If CC struggled in the 8th inning where it would have taken way more than 15 pitches to finish, then it would prudent to remove him. Not necessarily due to pitch counts, but because he is losing his stuff and getting hit around.

                The entire reasoning for keeping in your effective starting pitcher is you already know how he is throwing the ball, which last night was very good.

                But it is pot luck with any reliever in the game today not named Mariano Rivera.

                I don’t need a crystal ball to be enlightened on that.

  17. A.D. says:

    Net in net Soriano didn’t get the job done, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t until he started sucking on the mound. Can’t easily anticipate good players playing poorly.

  18. Monteroisdinero says:

    Soriano had what he thought was strike 3 that didn’t get called and he made a good pitch to Young that Swisher butchered. We need a defensive replacement in the late innings when we are ahead. The ball seems to find Swish and his ridiculous outfield slide that turns singles into doubles, doubles into triples and, last night, 2 rbi’s into 3.

    • JerseyDutch says:

      I honestly don’t get the whole sliding thing. Either you’re under the ball and you stay on your feet or it’s in front of you and you dive or play the hop.

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        Agree. We need a defensive OF coach. Get Mazzilli up here asap. Swish scares me out there. He has made a few mistakes already and the season is young.

  19. Alfredo says:

    i tried to get mad but i just couldn’t yeah girardi could have brought in robertson but he brought in his second best reliever not taking the lead for granted he blew the lead well then to bad to sad. the offense didn’t help much either. what did get me mad was that the double was a bloob hit. LETS GO GET THE TODAY, GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Samuel says:

    That is such a closed minded way of thinking for these managers, it is laughable.

    So many pitchers over the course of the game’s great history have throw complete games in early April. Other than moneyin long term contracts, there is no reason to remove a starting pitcher when he is dominating.

    Teams will keep losing games because managers are using bullpens when they do not need to. When money dictates how you use your team, the game begins to decline.

    Almost happened to Cleveland last night against Boston. The starter goes seven strong innings and after 91 pitches (that is only 91 pitches!), he is taken out for the 8th inning guy and then the almightly “closer,” who pulls his best Dave Righetti impersonation.

    • Samuel says:

      Incorrect placement alert!

      Sorry everyone, but my last post was in response to Big Apple’s comment to my original post above.

      • Big Apple says:

        i didn’t say i agree with it…its just the way it seems to be now.

        the dependence on bullpens creates this issue. during the season this happens often…the starter is rolling along, even with a decent pitch count…and for some reason “the automatic let’s go to the pen in the 8th or 9th” thinking begins and the pen blows it.

  21. Jay T says:

    So far, the only criticism of Girardi would be the abuse of David Robertson. Every game he has been up and throwing. Let’s not Scott Proctor him.

  22. feanwt says:

    This was a mistake plain and simple with regards to bullpen management. If you are planning to use DR in the 9th then he is supposed to start warming up in the 8th. Girardi had him warming up in the 7th and then sat him down in favor of RS. Given the typical warmup routine I find it hard to believe DR was supposed to pitch the 9th. I also wouldn’t use RS for a second day in a row for a low leverage situation, but that’s a matter of preference. Instead DR gets ready, sits, gets ready again, and then comes out to clean up the mess in a more fatigued state. Relievers are like dragsters, they go hard and fast for a short period of time. Use DR to start the 8th and put him on a short leash if you’re that worried about the lineup and the four run lead. I’d prefer a statement of “Yeah, I screwed that up” from JG on this one.

  23. mike says:

    I think we are looking at this incorrectly – there were 6 outs to get, and Girardi valued the first three of those outs more than the final three.

    Logically, to have Robertson in a “closer”/close the game out role in the 9th (which we know is a different animal) and using a Top 5 closer in the 8th would be more akin to a “fireman” role of times gone by….only if Girardi deemed those outs/players were more important to get out.

    Otherwise, if all things were equal, he would have used a warm Robertson in the 8th, and Soriano in the 8th if Robo got into trouble – at which time it likely would be a save situation for Rivera in the 9th anyway.

  24. Monteroisdinero says:

    Unless CC said he was gassed, why not go on with him? Verlander threw 114 pitches against us last week and they were losing. CC is a horse. Girardi getting the early season “LaRussa award”

    • Klemy says:

      I suspect if he left CC out there and he put men on base before leaving and the same result occurred, we’d have the same discussions though.

      I have no problem with using Soriano, really. I’m disappointed in the result, but these things happen from time to time. I guess that’s why the whole concept of having an 8th and 9th inning guy scares me. If we are going to keep designating people to specific innings that we have to go to, we are going to lose games because relievers just don’t have it that night. The more pitchers we involve in this per inning routine, the more chance that someone fails.

  25. dan l says:

    Just more Girardi SUCK…get used to it!

  26. I don’t have anything novel to add here, just wanted to say that I totally agree with this post. Yeah, I’m sure everyone was scratching their head a little bit last night – whether about bringing Soriano in to start the 8th or about leaving him in there when he clearly wasn’t on top of his game. But the immediate, shrill complaining about Girardi that followed was unfair considering the context. It’s fine to get emotional about losing a game and be upset when mistakes are made, but we have to keep things in perspective. Girardi has a good track-record of getting good performances out of his bullpen and giving guys appropriate workloads, in the long-run. Maybe he made a mistake or two last night, but he wasn’t the sole reason the Yankees lost that game and even if you’re upset with his moves last night, you have to temper that with the knowledge that he does a pretty good job with his bullpens. Shit happens.

  27. Buck says:

    To give Girardi some benefit of the doubt – I believe it was Joel Sherman who wrote that Soriano wants to start an inning and not come into the middle of one.

    For a guy that just signed a $35M contract, he seems to have to have his fair share of demands. He didn’t want to pitch against AL East foes in spring training either.

    That being said, I’m not sure why Girardi wouldn’t start the 8th with Robertson and hold Soriano, who has the 9th inning experience, till the final frame, if it still wasn’t a save situation.

    • List of pitchers who prefer to start a clean inning than come in the middle of one with men already on base:

      All of them

      [end of list]

      • Buck says:

        It’ll be interesting to see if Girardi will bring Soriano in the middle of any innings this year. According to Sherman, this may have been an issue in Tampa and Atlanta.

      • Samuel says:

        “List of pitchers who prefer to start a clean inning than come in the middle of one with men already on base:

        All of them.”

        For $13 million per season, can real men please stand up?

        No reason on this earth Girardi could not have brought in Mariano instead of Robertson in the 8th inning to face Delmon Young.

  28. OldYanksFan says:

    “But then I appreciated Girardi’s refusal to take a four-run lead for granted.”

    Yeah…. I guess shit happens sometimes, doesn’t it.
    But even if you question Girardi’s move, which was at worst a judgement call…
    He gave the ball to a guy who was a dominant closer,
    who’s getting paid $11m/yr,
    who had a 4 run lead.

    I mean, shouldn’t we give Soriano A LITTLE of the BLAME?
    Every time Jeter hits a weak grounder to SS, should be blame Girardi for playing him?

    Girardi has 25 other guys sitting on the bench, who… ya know….
    get paid a fortune to play baseball.

    Every time we get frustrated, must we blame the manager?
    Girardi ain’t perfect, but who is?
    The guy is smart and manages the TEAM well.
    3 BBs and a hit in 5 batters.
    I gotta think this loss is on Soriano…..
    AND
    an offense that got lazy for 6 innings because they had a lead and the game looked in the bag.

  29. FachoinaNYY says:

    Hopefully we can come back strong tonight with Garcia, otherwise with Garcia and AJ going the next two we could kill out BP after yesterday.

    Oh well its still early, lets just come out and dominate offensively so it doesnt matter what our pitching does.

  30. nyyank55 says:

    Girardi Sucks!!! End of story.

  31. Preston says:

    I was mortified when they brought in Soriano after warming up Robertson. But I have come to terms with Girardi’s decision.

    He wants to use everybody in defined roles. Rivera for save situations. Joba and Soriano to pitch clean innings and Robertson as the fireman. This actually shows a lot of confidence in Robertson. He has the highest K rate in the bull-pen and even his high BB rate is ok since when you have a guy on you’d rather not give into the batter and allow a hit.

    Now many hear would correctly argue that it’s antiquated to give everybody defined roles like this. But there are supposed benefits. One being that pitchers get to go into a game knowing how they will be used and prepare accordingly. Mo is prepared to close no matter what. In a 9-3 game the other day he was up and preparing in case it became a save situation. It did and he was prepared. That is the ultimate in professionalism. Soriano was obviously not prepared to pitch yesterday. Was it fatigue, maybe. But if that’s the case then he needs to communicate with Girardi better. If it was just poor preparation due to the fact that it was a 4-0 game and he thought he wouldn’t pitch that’s on him. He’s the 8th inning guy. Be prepared for the 8th that’s your role. Either way my initial anger at Girardi has passed and I’m now wishing that some of number 42′s professionalism rubs off on our 35 million dollar man.

  32. Monteroisdinero says:

    The best part of last night was that in Cleveland the Sawx were down 3-1, 2 outs/2 on and a 3-1 count to Ortiz against a righty.

    He flies out to Austin (I went from a 4th OFer to a starter) Kearns to end the game.

  33. Matt says:

    Its continues to be ridiculous. I do partially blame all the stat guys out there for focusing on numbers. Did they have have pitch counts in the 50′s?

    Sabathia is a 30 year old veteran in the prime of his career. He throws 200 innings. He threw 104 pitches. I dont care if its april 4. He knows what he is doing. At LEAST let him out for the 8th. I mean give me a break here.

    But no, Soriano is the ’8th inning guy’. Yup. He must be used..must be used. I mean he is the ’8th inning guy’. Certainly nobody else is able to throw a pitch in the 8th inning. Is Girardi familiar with the concept of ‘just because can do something doesnt mean you should do something’?

    • Did they have have pitch counts in the 50?s?

      In the ’50s, if your ace blew out his arm, did his contract become an albatross that prevented you from being a competitive ballclub for the next half-decade, or did you just take him out back and shoot him like a beast of burden whose usefulness has expired?

      • Greg says:

        Exactly. I said this last night and got a lot of heat for it. I thought Girardi’s decision was unusual and I was surpeised. But it wasnt really stupid. Not as stupid as other moves he has made.

    • Do pitch counts even classify as a stat?

      It was a cold night. He had a 4 run lead. Can’t blame Girardi for pulling him, why should he abuse his ace just because he can? Like you said.. just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

      Soriano needs to come in and do his job in that spot, and Joe needs to recognize that his pitcher has nothing before letting him face Joe Mauer with the bases loaded. Pulling CC was a non-issue and total hindsight given what happened.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Somebody want to draw a Venn Diagram of people who kill Girardi for pulling CC and people who would kill Girardi if CC stayed in and either lost the lead himself or got hurt? Something tells me there’s a lot of overlap.

  34. Broll The American says:

    I’m vexed by the inconsistent logic of his explanation, rather than the move itself.

    He brought Soriano in “because he’s the 8th inning guy.”
    He also said he wanted Soriano over Robertson in the 8th because “he was managing to get to 9th.”
    So he feared by not bringing in Soriano in the 8th, his lead would evaporate and he’d never get a chance to close it out in the 9th.
    If that was his belief, then what good would holding the lead in the 8th do if your options in the 9th weren’t good enough for the 8th initially?

  35. pete says:

    i’m cool with everything that happened last night. I wanted to bring in D-Rob to start the 8th, but he could have gotten lit up too.

  36. lordbyron says:

    Well stated but long overdue.

  37. Pat D says:

    I’m not going to complain about one game either, though I’m worried that this might be one of those games that really hurts to lose come the end of the year, like the one Mo blew against the Twins at home last year.

    With that in mind, I do love how the media has already turned against Soriano. I guess that’s the one thing that does bother me, in that he cut out without facing the music.

    But Joel Sherman begins his column today: “Rafael Soriano came here on a bribe.” Now that strikes me as the definition of irresponsible writing. I mean, for one thing, does he expect Soriano to talk to him anytime soon now?

  38. king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

    Oy. what a painful read the comments were.

    Joe has to build his relationship with Soriano.

    Soriano had a rought night with his relationship with the strike zone.

    Relationships. We all want ‘em…but what do you do with ‘em?

  39. bg90027 says:

    I was surprised that he went to Soriano with a four run lead but it bothered me more that he then brought Robertson in for only a 1/3 of an inning before turning to Mariano in the 9th. Since Joba was presumably unavailable that left only Boone Logan, Colon and Ayala for the extra innings. I’d have either gone to Mariano for a 4 out save or have left Robertson in to start the 9th.

    It sucks to have not only lost a game that they took a 4-0 lead into the 8th but to have also used so much of the bullpen the day before Freddy Garcia is making his first start.

    Big picture though, It’s a long season and I’m pretty happy with how they’ve started the season off.

  40. FernandoP says:

    Soriano was off and it’s not like Young’s hit was a liner. Still I would much have preferred seeing Robertson first, then Soriano to close out the game. I understand the logic about keeping Soriano in his 8th inning role, but then Giradi would have done the oppposite by bringing Robertson in for the ninth.
    My reason for bringing in Robertson is he’s already warmed him up a slew of times this year, but has not used him as much. With a 4 run lead, let’s get him in there and let’s use Soriano as the closer.

  41. MikeD says:

    I don’t question Girardi’s decision at all. CC wasn’t going more than 100-110 pitches this early, and Mo wasn’t going to be pitching two innings, and in fact, was supposed to have the day off. That means the bullpen was closing out the last two innings. Questioning what order — Soriano then Roberston or Robertson then Soriano — doesn’t make much sense. If Robertson didn’t have it, then Soriano was coming in for the 8th anyway, and then Mo was coming in the 9th. Or if Soriano didn’t have it (as happened), then Roberston was coming in, and then Mo in the 9th. The whole success of the plan is based on Soriano doing what he would do most times, which is shut down the opposition. Didn’t happen last night, and all I see right now is standard second-guessing that always comes after a loss.

    Girardi maps out the usage of his relievers for a few days in advance, which is part of Joe P’s point. Unfortunately, Soriano’s off night is going to mess up that plan, but this is hardly the end of the world. It’s going to happen again during the season. It’s part of the game. Sure, CC probably could have pitched all nine innings and thrown 140 pitches, but that would be insanity, and if he weakened in the 8th, Girardi would have been questioned for leaving him out there so early on. If Girardi had bought in D-Rob, and he blew it, then people would be screaming wondering why he went to his second-best option in the 8th instead of the $10 million reliever we just signed.

    It was a no-win situation for Girardi, unless Soriano did his job, and even then, people were questioning it. Amazing.

  42. Dave the Ox says:

    Ignoramus here. What’s DMORM?

  43. Greg G. says:

    Joe — Thanks for this post. The game thread last night got a little out of hand, IMHO.

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