and they're NOT named Joe Girardi. A lot of people have been second-guessing Girardi's managerial decisions for some time now, and today's fiasco should bring them out in force. We'll skip over the horrendous decision the Yankees made in the off-season to trade for Javier Vazquez, and focus on the top of the seventh inning, after the Yankees rallied to take the lead with four runs off Scott Linebrink. David Robertson had two outs and Paul Konerko, not fleet of foot, at second base after an opposite field double. After falling behind Carlos Quentin 2-0, Girardi ordered Quentin to be intentionally walked, putting the go-ahead run on base.
Now the fun starts. Instead of allowing Robertson, a strikeout pitcher, to face A.J. Pierzynski, Girardi decided to go lefty-lefty matchup. So who does he bring in? Damaso Marte, who used to pitch for the White Sox and specifically was caught BY Pierzynski. Why wouldn't he use Boone Logan in that situation? Logan can hit 97 MPH on the gun, and Pierzynski hasn't faced him much, both things favoring the Yankees. Instead, he brings in Marte, and tells his outfielders to play shallow. If there was a time for a no doubles defense, that was it. Heck, if Girardi was so comfortable with putting the go-ahead run on, why not walk Pierzynski, who has had a lot of success against the Yankees, and pitch to Mark Kotsay?
But no, the genius allows Marte to pitch to his former batterymate, and Pierzynski drives a ball over the head of Randy Winn in left and the White Sox immediately regain the lead. Kotsay conveniently flies out to left to end the inning, but the damage, both psychologically and physically, is done. Javier Vazquez gets to feel badly about costing his team yet another game by being unable to keep pitched balls inside the Stadium, and the bullpen takes another hit after coughing up the lead. What bothers me is that Robertson didn't pitch badly, but gets charged with 2 ER in 0.2 innings and gets tagged with the loss, when it was Girardi's poorly considered decisions to put the go-ahead runner on base intentionally and to use Marte against Pierzynski that resulted in the game-winning hit.
It's too bad Robinson Cano picked today to go 0-4 and leave 5 runners stranded. I hope it isn't the beginning of a Granderson-sized slump. At least Mark Teixeira picked up two hits today, as did Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner continues his solid hitting. Gardner will be patrolling CF for the forseeable future after Granderson's groin injury, so Randy Winn had better figure out where the equipment manager hid his bat bag or we'll be seeing a lot of Marcus Thames in LF.
Here's a revolutionary idea: Derek Jeter in LF, and Ramiro Pena at SS. Jeter couldn't possibly play worse defensively than either Winn or Thames, and he sure does hit better. Pena is a switch hitter, and has been playing well when asked and getting some clutch hits. I know if I was a Northwestern graduate, I'd have to give it some serious thought.