Now don’t get me wrong. I think that Joe Girardi should be considered for the Manager of the Year in getting the Yanks to a 30-20 mark after 50 games, considering how banged up the lineup is and how, frankly, pathetic it is. (Entering tonight’s game, OPS+ 95, ERA+ 116, meaning the offense is 5% below average while the pitching is 16% above average).
But I second-guess him on something tonight. Something that may have cost the Yanks the game.
For one thing, the Yanks lost the DH tonight playing the Mets at Citi Field. Which meant the Yanks leader in adjusted OPS (OPS+), Travis Hafner, was benched (he made the last out of the game as a pinch-hitter).
Chris Stewart hurt the Yanks twice tonight.
The first time was in the top of the second. He came up with the bases loaded and hit into a DP. Not only couldn’t he get a SF (and the Yanks would lose 2-1), but the DP ensured that the pitcher, Hughes, would have to lead off the next inning. Playing in an NL park, that is inexcusable. He MUST get a SF fly there to get a run home, especially since Hafner is unavailable.
In the sixth, the Yanks broke the scoreless logjam when Gardner’s bloop down the left field line wasn’t caught by Duda on a diving attempt and went for a triple. Nix singled for what turned out to be the Yanks only run of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, with one on and two out, Gardner robbed Murphy of a two-run HR.
Then came the point where I second-guess Girardi. The Yanks got two on with one out. Instead of pinch-hitting for Hughes and going for the big inning to break open a 1-0 game, Girardi let Hughes hit, and he laid down a bunt to move the runners up. But 2nd and 3rd, two out and Gardner grounded out.
I’d have PH for Hughes there and gone for the big inning to break it open.
But the Yanks are carrying 13 pitchers, even though they are in an NL park and losing the DH. WHY????? You know you are losing the DH, and need to PH more. Why 13 pitchers? Seriously.
So they don’t PH for Hughes after the last out in the sixth was a play that robbed Murphy of a 2-run HR.
So Joe lets Hughes in to bat in the top of the 7th, which may have cost the Yanks a big inning.
So what does Hughes (who pitched a good game) do to the first batter he faces in the bottom of the 7th? He gives up a HR to David Wright to tie up the game. As if the robbed HR ending the previous inning didn’t tell you something. As if you really needed him to hit with two on, one out in a 1-0 game. Instead, you leave him bat, then he gives up a game-tying HR to the next batter he faces.
Sorry, Joe. I was and still am, screaming about that one.
You have a depleted team. You are even more depleted since you have lost the DH in a NL park. Your pitcher was just saved from giving up a 2-run HR. But you let him bat with 2 on and 1 out where you can break the game open? And now that pitcher on the next batter he faces gives up a jack? Sorry. BAD MOVE.
Hughes went 7, 1 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 6 k. I knew going in to this game that Citi Field might be good for him. It’s a big ballpark, and he could give up fly balls here that won’t carry as in Yankee Stadium and what would be HR in Yankee Stadium would be outs here. I’m not as down on Hughes as most, but he is a free agent at the end of the year. Citi Field, or for that matter, SD, may work well for Hughes. If the Yanks are to trade him before losing him as a free agent, these places may work well for Hughes. Now the question is, what would the Padres or Mets have to offer? And could Phelps adequately then replace Hughes in the rotation? Or, for that matter, Nuno? Meanwhile the Kangaroo Court of the Yanks should fine Hughes $100, for two of the hits he gave up were to the Mets’ pitcher, Jonathan Niese. There is no excuse for that, giving up two hits to the opposing pitcher. Hughes’ ERA drops to 4.97.
In the 8th, David Robertson lost the game (3-1, 3.00). After a K, he gave up a bloop double, then a walk. A PB by Stewart took away the DP. Robertson did get a fielder’s choice, runner out at the plate, but fell behind Murphy 3-1. He didn’t want to walk Murphy to load the bases for Wright, and grooved a fastball down the middle which Murphy singled into CF. 2-1 and ballgame.
Robertson 2/3 Ip, 1 R, 2 H, 1 walk and 1 K.
Logan 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walk, 1 K. 1 batter, 1 K. 1.84.
I’ll say this for Nix. He can’t hit, despite 2 hits tonight (.239-1-12) but he is sure-handed at SS. Still, we miss Derek big-time.