Is delaying Freddy’s start the right move?

With no DH on tap, Yanks push Garcia back a week
A division turned upside down
Don't worry, Freddy. Some day you'll take the mound wearing pinstripes. Maybe. (Kathy Willens/AP)

When the decision came down to postpone last night’s game, the Yankees caught something of a break. The extra day off not only gave the bullpen a night off, but also afforded the Yankees the opportunity to play with the rotation and line it up in an optimal manner. They wasted little time in announcing plans, which involve skipping Freddy Garcia a couple of times and keeping everyone else on turn. I’ve come to generally trust the Yankees’ decisions in such matters, but that doesn’t rule out an examination of the alternatives. Was this the best possible move?

The Yankees had two immediate options. They could have kept Garcia on turn, pitching him tomorrow afternoon, or they could have skipped him and let A.J. Burnett take his regular turn. It might seem obvious to do the latter, but the former has its advantages. Specifically, it lines up Burnett, Phil Hughes, and CC Sabathia to face the Red Sox this weekend. The Sox are reeling now, and it would be in the Yankees’ interests to hit them with everything they’ve got. The idea of completely removing Garcia from the equation, though, prevailed.

(I wonder how greatly Burnett’s poor performances in Fenway as a Yankee factored into the decision.)

Once they decided to skip Garcia this time, another opportunity arose. They could skip him again, thanks to an off-day on Monday. The Yankees opted to do this as well, scheduling him for the start next Friday against Texas. This actually strikes me as an odd decision. If they kept on turn — Burnett, Hughes, Nova, Sabathia — Sabathia would pitch on Friday night’s opener against the Rangers, leaving Garcia to pitch on Saturday the 16th. I do wonder if things will break that way, or if Sabathia will just get an extra day’s breather. Girardi does seem pretty set in going with CC every five days, so we’ll see if things change between now and then.

The only question, then, is of whether it’s better to use Garcia against the Orioles early in the week. They might be off to a hot start, but so are the Rangers, and it’s pretty clear that the Rangers are the better overall team. If they already have plans to use Sabathia that Saturday on five days’ rest, they could go Garcia in the opener against the Orioles, followed by Burnett, Hughes, and Nova. The only snag, I guess, is that they’d all be on extra rest, though I’m not sure if that even factors into the decision.

What might have made the decision between Baltimore and Texas easy was the idea of using Garcia out of the bullpen this weekend. The off-day gives everyone a break, which hopefully means everyone stays fresh for the next four games. But having that extra pitcher out there, just in case, can come in handy. Garcia might not be very effective. He hasn’t, after all, pitched since March 29. But it’s another option in case things get messy. In games between the Yanks and Red Sox, that can happen at any time.

Given the slew of options presented to the Yankees, this is the the best overall. First, it means not using their worst starter until the latest possible date. (Or, as it were, near the latest possible date.) It gives the Yankees an extra option out of the pen this weekend, and it keeps the main four starters — i.e., the guys who will most likely be around most of the season — on turn. It might make for an ugly Freddy Garcia outing against Texas next weekend. But then again, weren’t we all preparing for an ugly Freddy Garcia outing anyway?

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With no DH on tap, Yanks push Garcia back a week
A division turned upside down
  • NJYankeeFan

    Of course it’s the right move. The guy basically sucks and he’s clearly the weakest of the 5 starters. Girardi should learn how to do a rain dance every 5 days.

    • ramez hanna

      very funny loool

  • YankeesJunkie

    This is the right move for the Yankees. Anytime you can use better pitchers in favor of inferior pitchers you have to do it. I am guessing that they will give CC a 5 day break instead of the typical 4 after his start on Sunday just for that extra little bit of rest in April. The most advantageous part of this is that the Yankees will have two long men for the next four games, 3 against the Red Sox which always seem like a 4 hour minimum per 9 innings. This may throw Garcia of his routine, but first does anyone really care, since we are talking about someone who we all think is going to be ousted by June, and secondly will it even matter. If Garcia puts up a 5 IP 5 ER outing next Friday would anyone be that shocked, pissed yes, this is the fifth starter.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    I’d rather him being skipped and somehow not pitching against Texas but I like the thought of delaying the inevitable.

  • Todd Gaak

    Great move. Must have come from Rothschild and not that idiot Girardi. Joe has already cost us one ballgame this year with his inept managing. Thankfully Boston and Tampa have yet to win a game.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Overreact much?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I can already tell that Todd Gaak is going to be a wonderful new addition to the board.

        Wonderful.

        • CMP

          Dont forget the guy last nite telling people to go F themselves.

    • Shaunheiser

      you realize that even a 95 win team will lose 67 games this year, right?

      • MannyGeee

        yes, but the Sox are gonna win 110…

    • FIPster Doofus

      Judging by your username, the next thing you’re going to tell us is that Dustin Hoffman was in “Star Wars,” right?

  • jorge brosada

    That Garcia outing against Texas is going to be ugly indeed. I could definitely see him getting lit up

  • Kiko Jones

    I might be in the minority but, while I don’t have much in the way of expectations when it comes to Garcia, I’d like to wait until he actually screws up before ganging up on the guy.

    • Brian in NH

      What a thought. Give him a chance to show us what he is.

  • China Joe

    Worst case scenario: what if Hughes bombs against the Red Sox and his fastball is still lacking. Would they consider skipping him the third time through the rotation and have him work a bullpen session or a sim game to build arm strength?

    • YankeesJunkie

      I think it might take more than 2 starts for them to skip Hughes. Hopefully Hughes can show some higher velocity.

  • Cuso

    Man, it’s early in the season. You can’t win anything, but you can lose momentum.

    Garcia strikes me as a bit …is moody the right word? Maybe tempermental?

    I’m a little concerned that once Garcia takes the mound, he’s not going to be ‘invested’ or as motivated as he should be. Not that he’s gonna purposely sh!t the bed. But just that he’d be taking the mound feeling slighted instead of feeling pumped.

    Anyways, with the awful start the Sox had, you know they’re gonna be coming home to Fenway looking ti wreck shit. you know they’re gonna be head-hunting and they’re gonna do whatever they can to feed the city’s bloodthirst.

    I don’t like rearranging the rotation to throw our “3 best” so early in April so the motivated Sox can point to some bullshit April series as how their torched CC, Burnett & Hughes.

    And the Boston propoganda can say whatever they want. But its the NY writers that are gonna continuously ask the questions up until the next time they go to Fenway.

    May series in KC? What about that Red Sox series?

    Chi-Sox coming to the Stadium in June? Have you shaken off the ghosts of the Fenway game yet?

    Tell me you can’t see it happen.

    All I’m saying is that I don’t like “lining certain guys up” but trying to claim an April 8th game has no meaning.

    Let Garcia & Nova take their turns.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      You’re saying the Red Sox weren’t motivated to come out of the gate hot? That after Texas destroyed them, they weren’t motivated to go beat freaking Cleveland?

      Also, the Yankees have gotten torched by the Red Sox early in the season before. Something about 0-8 in a pretty recent season? Unfortunate that whatever season that was ended in such failure because they couldn’t get over that Red Sox hump.* Shame.

      *ew

      • Cuso

        No actually Bex, I think you read exactly what I was saying.

        That they’re going to be coming home to Fenway for the first time in front of their home fans and whether you want to admit I have a point or not, are going to be a better team that the 0-5 team they are right now. Especially facing their hated rivals.

        If you disagree with that, feel free to come back to this post Friday at 11:30 pm and tell me the outcome.

        • Ted Nelson

          You did not say they are a better team than 0-5… anyone would agree with you there. You said they will be “looking to wreck shit” against the Yankees… bexarama’s question is whether you think they were not “looking to wreck shit” against the Rangers and Indians…

    • Tom Zig

      I disagree completely. The Sox are down, throw your best at them and kick them while they are down and keep on kicking. You know the Sox would do the same to us.

      • Cuso

        They’re “down” after 5 games and not having played in Fenway yet.

        You really think that we can bury them in a 3-game series on April 8-10?

    • hogsmog

      I mean, from what the guy said in spring training, he knew his job was on the line. If he doesn’t produce now, his career is over, which he obviously doesn’t want because he decided to pitch this year. So his ‘heart’ is probably in it enough.

      • Cuso

        hmmm. Read my post with a little more scrutiny. I didn’t mention “heart” in there once. Did I?

        • Ted Nelson

          You implied heart: “I’m a little concerned that once Garcia takes the mound, he’s not going to be ‘invested’ or as motivated as he should be.” That’s the same thing as heart.

          Might want to read your own post more critically…

    • Pasqua

      Why do we always need to create a psychological angle to these narratives? If Garcia pitches like crap, it will not be because his head or heart “isn’t in it.” He’ll pitch like crap because his stuff isn’t there. If he pitches well, it will not be because he was “hungry.” He’ll pitch well because his stuff is there.

      • Cuso

        Why do we always try to write antagonistic commentary without actually using the art of reading comprehension?

        Noone said his “head” or “heart” wouldn’t be in it. Nor that he wouldn’t be “hungry.”

        What I WROTE was that skipping a start of a guy that has the tendency of being tempermental raised the risk that you’re not going to get the best Freddy Garcia that you otherwise could. I believe the word I used was “invested.”

        But you need clarification? Fine.

        By invested, I mean “maybe he loses focus for 2-3 pitches.”

        Maybe “he’s looking in the stands pissed off after not getting a borderline call instead of focusing on Martin’s mitt and getting the next sign.”

        This site is flush witth “psychological narratives.”

        Don’t come here to contradict if you going to answer commentary with a question, i.e “Why do we always have to….”

        dumbass

        • Ted Nelson

          “Noone said his “head” or “heart” wouldn’t be in it. Nor that he wouldn’t be “hungry.””

          Yes. You did. “I’m a little concerned that once Garcia takes the mound, he’s not going to be ‘invested’ or as motivated as he should be.”

          To say you didn’t is a blatant lie. Invested and motivated directly imply head, heart, and hungry…

          “By invested, I mean “maybe he loses focus for 2-3 pitches.””

          That would take place where? In his head,no?

          “What I WROTE was that skipping a start of a guy that has the tendency of being tempermental raised the risk that you’re not going to get the best Freddy Garcia that you otherwise could. I believe the word I used was “invested.””

          Come on… you’re getting into semantics. You questioned his mental make-up and the word you used–“motivation”–is synonymous with “heart.”

    • Bpdelia

      nah man garcia is a pro. he’ seems moody because he is a jaded vet. i’m amongst the group that expects garcia to do just fine.. I repeat that the fourth and fifth starters aren’t the problem. the second and third starters performance will decide this season. garcia knows the deal. at this point garcia its ar the pitching for pride stage. this will not be an issue for him

      • Cuso

        i’m leaning your way on that

  • XxYx

    This leaves Nova to start in Boston, right?
    Right now, I have more confidence in him than I have in Hughes.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    I like the move too, furthermore say sometean gets started in trade season early and wants to cut bait with a starter. Opens up the chance that Garcia doesn’t even pitch for the Yanks.

  • mbonzo

    Was at the game tonight and the worst of the rain was drizzle. As soon as the game was postponed I walked out of the Yankees’ Museum to see nothing but a giant cloud of humidity covering the stadium, but no sign of rain. On my way back home I checked the radar, and although there was a big green mass covering us, there was nothing more than sporadic drizzling. I think the Yankees’ crew had a lot to do with persuading the Umps to call the game, and by that, I mean the Yankees’ front office. No one loves to play on a damp and cold field so early on in the season, but it seems like a quarter of April games are like that.

    • Ted Nelson

      I was not at the game or even in New York, but the rain looked pretty visible on television.

  • LEOLUCCA RANDISI

    I don’t get the Girardi hate, he has only been managing since 2007 and has already won a world series. By the time Torre took over managing the Yankees he had spent many years managing the cardinals,mets and the braves so I think it is unfair to compare Girardi to Torre. Out of the two managers I would take Girardi over Torre, if Girardi would have been able to run the lineups that Torre had out every night in the 90’s then Girrardi would have had a bunch of championships too by now. As for Garcia I think he will surprise a lot of people, he won 12 games on a bad Chicago team and he should have won 18 but his team let him down. On the Yankees may be Garcia wins 15 or 16 and if he does that he will be fine in my book. On a side note I no it’s way to early to right off the SUX but I never thought they were the favorites to win anything. The red sox starting pitching stinks there bullpen is not better then ours and they essentially swapped two players “ADRIAN BELTRE AND VICTOR MARTINEZ” for “ADRIAN GONZALEZ AND CARL CRAWFORD” Plus all there injured players, look for some set backs may be re injury. So basically they are essentially the same team but older I’m not impressed and I never was I like our chances with this Yankees team and I would go to war with them any day!

  • Monteroisdinero

    No right or wrong here and there may be more rainouts to come. YCPB.

    Opening day for Montero and the SWB Yanks today.

  • Yank the Frank

    Put your best out there whenever you can. Joe was not wrong with Soriano, it just didn’t work out. He won’t be wrong in skipping Garcia.

  • theyankeewarrior

    One less game started by a scrap-heap starter.

    One more game started by a top-of-the-rotation type in September.

    Also, keep in mind that in September, we will have 20 or so pitchers on hand to deal with fatigue issues. This rain out is a great way to rest the pen during a stretch where they play every day for a week.

    Also, we had our C lineup going yesterday. I assume it will be back to the A lineup tonight.

    Sox lose. Rays lose. O’s!? lose. All good things. Goosefraba.

  • MannyGeee

    not positive I would not have thrown the Garcia/Colon experience out there to face Pavano and gone with my pick of the litter against the Sox. don’t care if they are 0-5 or 5-0, they are division rivals and should be treated as such.

    • Ted Nelson

      Joe also points out that NOT pitching AJ Burnett in Fenway may in fact have been the Yankees pick of the litter. Garcia is not very good, but I don’t understand why people act like Burnett and Hughes are very good… they’re not either.

      • CMP

        Maybe because if Hughes and AJ aren’t significantly better than Garcia this year, the Yanks are in for a LONG season.

  • Ted Nelson

    I’m not particularly expecting an ugly outing from Garcia. He actually faced Texas twice last season, so we don’t have to act like this is the first time he’s ever pitched against Texas and we have no idea what to expect. We don’t have to act like every start he had last season he gave up 5+ ERs. That didn’t happen. The two times he faced Texas last season he went 7 IP 2 ERs and 6 IP 3 ERs. Clearly, though, every time he starts a game he gives up 5+ ERs. Makes sense.

  • http://twitter.com/TheDog_Man jon

    I think AJ’s history in Boston is the begining, the middle, and the end of their reasoning!