LADY AT THE BAT: Girardi Fails, Bird Soars As Yankees Even Jays Series

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Girardi Fails, Bird Soars As Yankees Even Jays Series

Joe Girardi owes Greg Bird at least a nice dinner, right? With one swing of the bat, the rookie bailed out his manager after Girardi made some questionable decisions.  As a result, the Yankees got a win in a crucial series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

After the Yankees missed a crucial opportunity for insurance runs in the top of the 9th inning (running themselves into a 9-2 double play by going from 2 on, nobody out to 1 on and two out) Yankees closer Andrew Miller blew the save in the bottom of the 9th inning (just his 2nd on the year, by the way). He gave up a game tying HR and the Yankees went to extra innings with all the momentum on the side of the Blue Jays.

Even before the blown save, Girardi’s decisions in the top of the 9th raised a few eyebrows. First, with an expanded bench, why wasn’t a faster runner (Rico Noel) in for Chris Young?

If the answer was that the defensive alignment wouldn’t have been as strong in the bottom of the 9th inning then, second, why send Chris Young from third on the shallow fly-out anyway?

Had Girardi missed the play in the 7th inning where Jose Bautista threw out Dustin Ackley trying to go from first to third with one out? The better decision seemed to have been to leave Young at third and give the offense two more tries to get him in. Instead, Young was thrown out at the plate, the Yankees didn't score and Miller faltered.

The Yankees faithful was fully prepared to sound off on Girardi but, just a half inning later, Brian McCann and Greg Bird teamed up to make sure that the miscue wouldn’t be the end of the story.

McCann, bless him, dropped down a bunt leading off the top of the 10th inning. He would have been out on a better throw but he clearly caught the Blue Jays defense off guard and reached base on an infield single. One batter later Greg Bird sent his 10th HR of the season out to right, giving the Yankees a three run lead in a game they would ultimately win 6-4.

Bird has done a remarkable job since coming up in mid-August. He has stepped up admirably in the absence of Mark Teixeira, even doing his best to replicate Teixeira’s power stats. He has made the routine, if not spectacular, plays over at 1B and has made sure that the Yankees have not suffered as much of an offensive drop off as was feared (his full season on pace numbers are fantastic).

The Yankees may not win the division, may not even win tomorrow’s game (although here’s hoping they will do both) but either way they should feel great about the homegrown talent they have over at 1B. Girardi, especially, should feel ecstatic.

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