I wrote this on June 15th of this season:
“On June 13th and 14th, the NY Yankees, one of the best teams in baseball in one of the best divisions in baseball (i.e., they aren’t going to run away and hide from the rest of their division, like the Washington Nationals will – these games count) took on the red headed step children of the city of lights. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, owners of a 33-34 record at the time, were playing without Mike Trout, essentially making them a AA team.
Short version of events:
On June 13th, the Yankees held a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the 7th. They gave up one run in the 8th and another in the 11th in a 3-2 loss.
On June 14th, the game was square at 5 runs each entering the 7th, in an eventual 7-5 loss.
In those two games combined there were 7 innings where the game was tied and/or the Yankees had a 1 run lead in the 7th inning or later.
Giovanny Gallegos, Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard, Jonathan Holder, Chasen Shreve, Dan Chaliss, Ben Heller and Ronald Herrera all pitched. Seriously – only one of those names is fictional.
Dellin Betances did not.
After the game on the 14th, Joe Girardi said “I can’t ask Dellin to give me nine outs.” I’ll come back to that…
I’ve already discussed this when Girardi was misusing his previous “closer” (I’m disliking that term more every day) Aroldis Chapman, so I won’t rehash. If you’re interested, you can scroll down to the blog where I discussed it.
But I will reiterate: Games in June count just as much as games in September. The 7th inning counts just as much as the 9th.
Leaving your best pitcher in the bullpen when you’re in the situations the Yankees were in is bat…shit…crazy.
Joe can’t get 9 outs from Dellin? OK – how about 6? How about 3?
We’ll never know if it would’ve made a difference in the won/loss record because bullets from our best gun are still sitting in the chamber, while a kid just up from AA (literally) was thrown into what was a crucial situation for this team.
If the Yankees lose the AL East by less than 2 games, remember these two games, and the games when Chapman wasn’t used in similar situations earlier this season.
And also remember this when your local Luddite sports writer, announcer, or talk show host tells you “Joe knows how to manage a bullpen”.