Questioning Joe Girardi is not exactly high on my list of things to do as I tend to give the Yankees manager the benefit of the doubt. After all, 750 wins doesn’t happen without some skill, even if it’s the skill of knowing when you don’t have to meddle.
Still, after he pulled Adam Warren in Tuesday night’s game after 6.1 IP and only 88 pitches, I’ll admit I raised an eyebrow. Warren didn’t look gassed, there was no funny ankle turn or elbow grab after his last pitch and the lead was not in jeopardy as there was no one on base. It was one of the best starts of Warren’s career and continued a recent positive trend for him.
After the game, during his post-game presser on the YES Network, Girardi said of Warren, “The young man’s getting the job done” and also admitted, “He’s pitching as well as anyone in our rotation.” With all that being said, Girardi still pulled him with a very reasonable pitch count and with eight outs still to go.
It’s a move that was made all the more confusing when he called upon Dellin Betances (who struck out the side and has retired 28 straight batters while still holding onto the 0.00 ERA for the season) and Andrew Miller (0.89 ERA, .074 BAA) to wrap up the game in a non-save situation.
YES put up a graphic in the late innings comparing the back-end of the Kansas City Royals bullpen (Wade Davis & Greg Holland) vs. the back-end of the Yankees bullpen (Betances & Miller). Both have been dominant and, while the Yankees stats were marginally better, the number that stuck out was the IP for each duo. The Royals are under 30 IP while the Yankees duo is fast approaching 45 IP.
For Joe Girardi, who is known for the meticulous managing of his bullpen, it seemed like a very odd choice. Certainly it has been awhile (May 10) since the Yankees won a series, and the team is just coming off a six game slide that took them out of first place in the A.L. East. Add in the fact that a four run lead against a team with one of the best offenses in the league is not exactly safe and you can see why Girardi went to his reliable tandem.
What does that mean for the rest of the bullpen, though? Is there no one else in there who can be counted on to get outs? Surely, between Justin Wilson (who contributed 2 outs), Chasen Shreve, David Carpenter and Esmil Rodgers, they could get 8 outs before giving up four runs right? If not, however, Cashman has some work to do to fix the bullpen.
With a day game today followed by seven games on the West Coast, it would have been great to see Warren get through at least 7 IP and Betances and Miller get a night off.
It’s hard to quibble with Girardi when he managed the team to a series win at home after a horrific road trip but, thinking long term, he has to get Betances & Miller some rest. Tuesday night’s game was a good chance to do so, but the Yankees manager went for the short term win. Let's hope it doesn't have long term ramifications.