I am well aware that fingers can be pointed at a number of people when it comes to what caused last night's horrible Yankee loss to the Red Sox: Ivan Nova, Mariano Rivera and Alfonso Soriano come to mind, of course. So does Joba Chamberlain. However, many fingers, in my opinion, should also be pointed at the manager, Joe Girardi.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am one of the last people who would blame Joe Girardi for a loss. I've never played organized sports, let alone coached them so, far be it from me to criticize someone in such a position. However, the fact that he used Joba Chamberlain in such a high leverage situation last night, in a game that the Yankees could not afford to lose, was a mistake that even I found glaring.
At this point in the season, and at this point in Joba's career, the Yankees cannot afford to take chances with him. By now, he should be relegated to Last Man status. I don't care if the other members of the bullpen are wet-behind-the-ear rookies, I still don't want to see Joba until he's the only one left.
And what about Phil Hughes?
Hughes is probably a tick ahead of Joba, and it is a very small tick at that. I suppose that, between the two of them I would play the percentages depending on who the batter is. But I would use any one else before I used either of these guys. There are too few games left and very little time to make up ground.
Girardi needs to understand this and manage accordingly. If he doesn't, the Yankees will do nothing except move away from any chance at the playoffs.