("Umm, Skip? Why the hell are you out here?" Courtesy of Reuters)
For the most part, Joe Girardi is the ideal type of guy to manage the New York Yankees. He's level-headed, he's a former catcher, the position that usually lends itself well to becoming a good manager, he's played in New York before so he understands how the handle the pressure and media scrutiny, and he understands how to handle his players' personalities. One area that he never seems to have a firm grasp on, though, is the management of his pitching staff. It's nothing else if not inconsistent and I would describe it as meddlesome; a strategy almost always formulated based on matchup history and pages in a binder rather than the entirety of the situation playing out in real time on the field. Yesterday was another classic example of Joe bowing to the numbers in the pages and not the game situation at hand, and it cost the Yankees 4 runs.
On paper, his decision yesterday to intentionally walk Sean Rodriguez to load the bases was solid. There were 2 outs, runners in scoring position, Rodriguez had experienced some success hitting against CC in his career, and the hitter coming up behind Rodriguez had a career 4-35 batting line against CC. That hitter, Carlos Pena, was also left-handed, playing into the almost always desirable lefty-on-lefty matchup. But baseball games are not played on paper, and what was happening on the field over the course of that half inning was not captured in Joe's binder notes, could not be captured in his binder notes, and should have been just as big a determining factor in Joe's decision making as Pena's career stats against CC were, if not bigger.