Parting words on Joe Girardi…
Tuesday night’s game in New York really wasn’t about the managers. Sure, Dallas Keuchel pitched on short rest and pitched brilliantly for six innings, so A. J. Hinch gets some credit for that one.
Otherwise, though, there just wasn’t much for the managers to do except wind up the obvious players and let them go. What’s more, both were quick to their bullpens, and Joe Girardi used his best guys even though his team was losing; he didn’t wait for a save situation that might never exist. So…
Can't fault the managers for anything this game. Not that any tough decisions really came up. Wait until we get to Matheny, Yost, and co.Article continues below ...
— Mitchel Lichtman (@mitchellichtman) October 7, 2015
Just one quibble here, though. Girardi started Brett Gardner in the outfield rather than Jacoby Ellsbury — starting just one of them left room for Chris Young — and he was asked about this, maybe because Ellsbury’s making $21 million this season … and $21 million next season, and the season after that and the season after that and the season after that and the season after that.
Yeah. That’s a lot of $21 millions to be sitting on the bench in an elimination game.
Also, Gardner struck out three straight times.
None of which I would mention, except when asked about his choice, Girardi cited Gardner’s "body of work against lefties this year."
Even though we know that platoon splits over the course of one season usually have little meaning, and perhaps none at all.
In fact, while Gardner did perform significantly better than Ellsbury against lefties, both actually had small platoon splits. What this really came down to, I think, is that Girardi just wanted his best hitters in the lineup against Keuchel, and Gardner was just a lot better than Ellsbury this season. Granted, both of them were terrible down the stretch, but Ellsbury was terribler. Throw in Gardner’s defense, and it really seems like an easy choice, talent-wise.
Girardi had one righty-hitting outfielder (Young) and getting him into the lineup meant benching one of his lefties. And for whatever reason, he probably benched the right one. I suspect that Girardi did it for the right reason, but didn’t want to say out loud that Ellsbury’s been a bust this year.