AJ Burnett and Joe Girardi: Equation for Disaster in Game Five

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AJ Burnett and Joe Girardi: Equation for Disaster in Game Five
Al Bello/Getty Images

I think it’s safe to say that Joe Girardi is no Joe Torre.

Sure the Yankees made it to the World Series this year under Girardi, but not without him making some blundering decisions.

This whole season the guy has had a tendency to overmanage or undermanage games and Monday night was no different.

As if A.J. Burnett’s usual inconsistency was not enough, Girardi got hung up on pitching matchups, which is not unusual for him.

Yes, he is not the only one to blame for the game since Burnett’s performance was almost as awful as Jamarcus Russel‘s show against the Jets week seven, but fans were quick to put all the blame on Burnett rather than looking at the bigger picture.

Truth of the matter is, regardless of what inning it was, Burnett should have been taken out before he actually was.

Burnett rarely rebounds from his mistakes and is prone to collapsing after giving up a few runs, which is something Girardi should have paid closer attention to.

Regardless of how Burnett has done in his past few outings, this is the World Series here, not just any game the Yanks can afford to lose.

Fans can argue as much as they want that it was too early to pull him and resort to the bullpen, which has been less than impressive this postseason, but the argument can also be made that with the exception of Phil Coke, the bullpen came through for the Yanks Monday. 

When Burnett got into his predicament in the third inning, right away he should have been relieved.

While managers must have faith in their players, they must also know when to put a stop to certain things which is something Girardi seriously lacks.

Like I said before, Burnett RARELY rebounds from his mistakes as we saw last night when he gave it all up after making a few mistakes.

So Burnett was not the only one who cost us six runs, it was also Girardi whose great managerial skills could not come at a worse time.

Enough about the Burnett issue, let’s move onto the other pitching decisions made in the game.

Although risky, Girardi brought in David Robertson to relieve Burnett, which turned out to pay off for the team as he gave them two scoreless innings of pitching that nobody can complain about.

That is when his overmanaging made way into the game.

He took out Robertson, who was doing fine, and replaced him with in a pinch hitter in an attempt to gain some runs back.

The move is understandable in a sense that the team was down by six runs, but Robertson showed no signs of trouble the inning before and could have given them an extra inning of relief, one that would have saved them from the seventh inning debacle by Phil Coke.

Alfredo Aceves replaced Robertson and also provided much needed relief to Burnett’s mess, but the best is yet to come.

He took Aceves out of the game to pinch hit Jerry Hairston Jr.

I know it was the seventh inning and all and tension was mounting as they were heading into crunch time down four runs, but you might as well keep Aceves in the lineup than take him out for Hairston.

Say whatever you want about the pinch hitter situation but those who know Girardi’s mentality know it was a move that was based in the whole left-handed hitter vs. left-handed pitcher concept.

If any left-handed pitcher should have been brought into that mess of a game it should have been Demaso Marte.

Yes, he had a less than impressive season but has turned it around this postseason and has turned himself into a pitcher that the Yankees can rely on, which is more than can be said for the rest of the bullpen other than Mariano Rivera.

Instead, as usual, Girardi put Phil Coke into yet another crucial situation only to watch him blow it.

It may have only been two runs, but those were essentially the deciding runs in the game.

Why on earth would anybody in their right mind bring in Phil Coke to face Chase Utley who has been scorching hot in the World Series?

The lefty vs. lefty issue is not enough to justify why he chose Coke over Marte and more importantly, why he took out Aceves who was pitching brilliantly.

So yes, Girardi’s unnecessary choices to pull Robertson out of the game and put Aceves in did work out in the end, but sticking with Burnett and throwing Coke into the mix cost the Yankees the game.

Let me just reiterate once more that Girardi is not solely to blame for the game as Burnett’s performance was just flat out pathetic, but look at the bigger picture here.

His choices not only cost the Yankees runs in the game, but also cost them extra innings and the chance to win their 27th title without even having to go back to the Bronx.

Props to the guy for getting the Yanks into the Series, but watch out as his choices have put the Yankees in predicaments more than once.

Girardi was a great Yankee back in the day, but manager, not so much.

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