Monday, April 5, 2010

A Mournful Strike in the Anticipation List (Plus: Monday Morning Shortstop)

1) Yankees-Red Sox Season Opener
2) SI's World Series Predictions
3) My Birthday
4) Spring Break
5) Rec Basketball Season Finale
6) Conan O'Brien Sticks it in Jay Leno's Face

You won’t find a bigger pessimist than me when it comes to sports, and I knew the Yanks would eventually blow their big lead last night. Let’s face it… Yankees baseball in April makes me cringe. They historically have been pedestrian in the first month of the season (58-64 since 2005) and their big bats (Teixeira, Jeter) don’t get heated up until summer. So the scenario of the Yanks starting their season in Fenway Park on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball didn’t exactly favor the Pinstripes.
My hopes got high when Posada and Granderson hit back-to-back homers (Granderson’s was measured at 455 feet) and when the Yanks knocked Beckett out of the game. The offense came out to play last night, and they can’t even be remotely blamed for the loss. No, I place the blame squarely on Joe Girardi and his mismanagement of the pitching staff.
For starters, he left Sabathia in way too long. I could see he was getting tired, and once the starting pitcher walks the lead off man in a late inning, it’s time for him to get pulled. But Girardi stuck with him and it would eventually bite him in the butt when Kevin Youkilis of all people knocked in two runs with a stand-up triple. David Robertson (one of the Yanks brightest spots in their bullpen) then gave up the game-tying hit, but that was hardly his fault.

When you’re team retakes the lead, wouldn’t you want one of your best relievers on the hill to preserve that lead? If that’s the case, why in God’s name was Chan Ho Park out on the mound in the 7th inning? Girardi should have left Robertson in or brought in Alfredo Aceves, not a career journeyman who signed with the team not even a month ago. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but Chan Ho Park gave up the lead! What a shocker. He gave up a two-run homerun (which would have been an out or foul ball in any other park) to the hated Dustin Pedroia, and then proceeded to put more baserunners on before finally hitting the showers. Girardi then brought in Damaso Marte to stop the bleeding, but the lefty reliever throws a wild pitch and blows the tie. I don’t even want to start on Joba’s awful outing. It wasn’t a pretty game to watch, but I was pleased with the offensive output and C.C.’s stellar outing (especially compared to last year’s horrid Opening Day). However, Girardi better take another look at how he manages the bullpen and his starters or else it could be a long season full of 10-9 games.

This wasn’t pretty to watch either.

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