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Worrying About And Figuring Out Joe Girardi


Joe Girardi made some....interesting decisions this weekend in the Rays three game sweep over the Yankees. Girardi was blasted by fans and reporters across New York for his over-managing, some of which is believed to have contributed to the Yankees 0-3 record.

I am not panicked at all about the Yankees 0-3 record. This is the same as if the Yankees got swept in August, still three losses and zero wins in the overall standings. I'd rather it happen now, anyway, so that we can attribute the poor start to minor issues, like CC Sabathia readying himself for the season, Hiroki Kuroda nit-picking in his first start with the Yankees, and the team getting fully healthy.

There is one issue that I am concerned about, however, and that is Joe Girardi. Let's take a look at the decisions Girardi made this weekend.

Intentionally walking Sean Rodriguez to pitch to Carlos Pena- Carlos Pena had terrible stats vs. Sabathia, and is a lefty compared to Sean Rodriguez, who is a righty. Girardi went with the binder and had his ace walk Rodriguez to get to Pena. Despite the matchup and the binder, if Girardi can't trust his ace pitcher to get out a career .308 OBP hitter, there is a problem.

Leaving Clay Rapada in to face Evan Longoria- Clay Rapada has one purpose on the team. ONE purpose, to face left handed hitters. Rapada simply cannot get right handed hitters out, and Girardi decided to try it out anyway. The idea failed, as Longoria launched a near home run, a double off the wall. Girardi made the same decision with Boone Logan in Sunday's game, though Logan does have better stats vs. righties than Rapada historically. Logan gave up a home run to right handed hitter Jeff Keppinger.

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The Lineups and Substitutions- Girardi insists on giving days off to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nick Swisher, and I have absolutely no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is Brett Gardner losing playing time when he hits lefties almost as well as righties. Gardner is one of the most valuable players on the team, and simply benching him is silly. Eduardo Nunez does deserve at bats, but not Brett Gardner's at bats.

Girardi gave Russell Martin the day off Sunday, yet used him as a pinch-hitter for Chris Stewart in the seventh inning. Not a big deal, but if Martin was to get hurt, Eduardo Nunez would have to take over at catcher. There's little to no reason to use Martin as a pinch-hitter down three in the seventh inning.

Using Raul Ibanez as a right fielder- Simply unacceptable. Raul Ibanez cannot field, and everyone knew that before the seasons started. Ibanez was supposed to be purely a DH for the Yankees, but when the Yankees decided to go with five outfielders, Ibanez had to be one of the five, rather than just a DH. Ibanez is a hopeless mess in the field, and if Girardi continues to play him in the field there will be problems.

Overall, Girardi is not the worst manager out there, but if he continues to overmanage and hurt the team, Tony Pena should receive a friendly phone call, while Girardi receives a not so friendly one. We're only three games into the season, so let's give Girardi more time.