When Joe Girardi took out Yankees reliever David Robertson for Alfredo Aceves, the cynics laughed. Why would Girardi take out Robertson? Robertson's velocity looked good and he just retired Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales, two of the Angels' best hitters. Robertson is a right-handed pitcher, as is Aceves. The next batter (Howie Kendrick) never had experience against either of the pitchers, so why ?
Well for one, Dr. James Andrews (a highly regarded pitching doctor) expressed that Robertson needed rest and pitching him could be a risk. With that said, Robertson did pitch out of trouble against the Twins and it wouldn't seem to be a horrible move to leave him in the game.
The white flag I saw from Robertson was his control. He wasn't pinpoint against Rivera and fell behind Morales. Posada (Yankees catcher) continually set up on the outside corner of the plate against Morales. Morales has struggled this series, but has great power. Robertson did his best to keep the ball on the outside corner, but on a three-two pitch, he made a mistake. The pitcher left the three-two fastball in the middle of the plate, but Morales hit a lazy fly ball.
The next batter was Howie Kendrick, who had already hit a home run and a triple. I doubt that Kendrick would hit a lazy fly ball if he got his pitch. Aceves has been great for the Yankees this year and has a 10-1 regular season record to show for it. Aceves has better control and it's obvious Girardi trusted him more than Robertson. Kendrick then started a rally that ended the game with a Jeff Mathis double.
This brings up another argument: Jeff Mathis. The same Jeff Mathis who hit .211 this regular season. Mathis started a rally with a double against Phil Hughes, who was in his second inning of work. Girardi would have taken the blame for leaving Hughes in the game if the Yankees lost, but also would have had criticism if Hughes was replaced at the start of the inning with Rivera.
Hughes could easily work two innings since he converted to a reliever from a starter this season. Mathis doubled and pretty soon the bases were loaded. The Angels carry three catchers and Mathis had already replaced Napoli. Again, the guy hit .211 in the regular season!! So why would Scioscia leave Mathis in when he had guys on the bench like Reggie Willits? The critics would be all over Scioscia if the Yankees had won and Mathis wasn't replaced by Willits.
Girardi's decisions would have looked good if Aceves retired Kendrick and continued pitching strong. If Hughes was taken out of the game after one inning of work, Girardi would have heard it. If Hughes got the lost, Girardi would have heard it.
Girardi acted swiftly after Hughes gave up the double, going straight to Mariano. That move panned out. Then Girardi again acted swiftly and went with his man Aceves when Robertson looked shaky. But this move didn't pan out.
Mike Scioscia looked great with his moves, Fruentes, Bulger, and Santana shut the Yankees down the last three innings. Scioscia's decision looked great again by keeping Mathis in the game and although he didn't score on his first double, he had the game-winning double in the eleventh.
Managers get all the credit for a win (Scioscia), and all the credit for a loss (Girardi).
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