Posted on: June 19, 2010 8:06 pm

Will Phil Hughes be named to the All-Star Team?

Joe Girardi faces a tough decision when he is called upon to name the American League pitchers for the All-Star Game this year. Phil Hughes has pitched well beyond expectations for the Yankees this year, and his 10-1, 3.17 record so far would ordinarily make him a lock for the All-Star team. However, the Yankees had made plans when the season began that were intended to limit the number of innings Hughes would throw, and part of the plan involved skipping a start or two right before the All-Star break, and maybe one or two after, rather than employing the ridiculous method they used on Joba Chamberlain last year with disastrous results.

With another four starts coming up before the break, Phil Hughes could make Girardi's decision even harder by pitching well enough to be named the starter. Girardi would certainly need a guy like Hughes on his roster, and Hughes deserves the honor, but naming him would fly in the face of the Yankees long-term plans for Hughes having the All-Star break off to keep him fresh for the stretch run. If Hughes is named to the team, Girardi would then need to make a choice whether to use him in the game or to short himself one pitcher by letting Hughes sit on the bench. If it came right down to using Hughes to help the American League win the game and potentially give the Yankees home field advantage in the World Series, or sticking to the Yankees plan to rest Hughes, what does Girardi do?

I think the case could be made for Hughes being named the starter for the American League. Let him pitch the first inning, and then take him out. It would be the same as a bullpen session between starts, and the Yankees would have to let him do some throwing while they were resting him, to make sure he stays sharp when the put him back in the rotation. If he deserves it, why not have that activity be starting the All-Star Game?
Category: MLB
Posted on: May 1, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2010 8:13 pm

One of my best friends is a Northwestern graduate

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.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 16, 2008 3:16 am

A Memorable day from Yankee Stadium's final year

My wife and I attended the game vs. the Royals on June 7, 2008, and the game had more than its share of memorable moments. In the third inning, the home plate umpire was knocked out of the game by a bunt attempt. It was 98 degrees in New York that day so it must have been 110 on the field, and it looked like Andy Pettitte would succumb to it as the Royals jumped out to a 5-1 lead after three innings. The Yankees tied it in the fourth, and Melky Cabrera got thrown out at the plate tagging on a Derek Jeter fly ball to end the inning.

The Yanks took a lead with a run in the fifth, and it looked like we might get a good six innings from Pettitte after all. Jose Guillen fouled a ball off his lower leg in the sixth, and was down for several minutes and looked like he wouldn't stay in the game. Even after the Royals tied it in the top of the seventh, it looked like the Yanks would escape trouble when Joe Girardi had Mike Aviles intentionally walked to put the DP back on, and Pettitte struck out Mark Teahen. That brought Guillen back to the plate, and he didn't look comfortable as Pettitte ran the count to 2-2. Then Pettitte hung a slider, and suddenly it was 10-6 Royals, and the game looked lost. The gentleman seated in front of us, Paul Simon, asked the kids he had with him if they wanted to leave. They said, "NO!" so they all stayed.

The Yanks got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh, and Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said. And they stayed.

The Yanks got two more runs in the eighth to tie it up, and you could feel the momentum shift in the crowd. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Mariano Rivera came in to warm up for the ninth, and the crowd really got loud. For one pitch. David DeJesus deposited Mo's first pitch into the right field stands, and it got really quiet. Rivera retired the side in order, but the damage was done. Or so we thought. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Joakim Soria came in to close it out in the ninth, and after a Jason Giambi fly ball out, Jorge Posada hit a HR to tie it up and the crowd went wild. After a Robinson Cano grounder, Wilson Betemit worked a walk, and Melky Cabrera reached on a dribbler toward third. That set the stage for Johnny Damon, who came up with two on, two out, tie game, and with a 3-1 count, deposited his sixth single of the game into the right field corner, scoring Betemit with the winning run! Yankees 12, Royals 11, in a game that all the people we saw as we made our way back to the subway said was the best game they had ever seen.

And my wife got a genuine autographed UTZ potato chip bag from Paul Simon.

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