The Joe Girardi Show: Season 5, Episode 3

Joe Girardi

On Sunday afternoon, Paul O’Neill said the following about Joe Girardi, which left me with the same blank stare Dave Kujan had when he realized “Verbal” Kint was Keyser Soze.

“I think that Joe Girardi realizes where this team is. You have to win every single game you have an opportunity to win. You have an opportunity to win this game, you go all out. You don’t worry about tomorrow.”

What shocked me is how anyone, let alone Paul O’Neill, could think that about Joe Girardi. No one plays for tomorrow more than Joe Girardi, always worrying about hypothetical situations that will most likely never take place.

I did the first episode of the fifth season of The Joe Girardi Show back on April 21 and then I didn’t do the second episode until July 22 (one week ago). I finished last week’s episode by saying the following:

I always hope that my latest version of The Joe Girardi Show is the last one I will ever have to do because it would mean he wouldn’t have given me a reason to write another one. Unfortunately, I know that won’t be the case.

Here we are, seven days later and I’m writing the third episode. Like I said, I don’t want to have do these, but I especially don’t want to have to be doing them at the end of July with the Yankees in the middle of both a division race and wild-card race.

The Yankees could have won on Saturday if Joe Girardi didn’t carelessly and irresponsibly let Jeff Francis pitch the ninth inning of one-run game against a division opponent the Yankees are battling to win a playoff spot. But he left Francis pitch and the Blue Jays turned their one-run lead into a four-run lead rendering Carlos Beltran’s two-run home in the bottom of the ninth worthless.

On Sunday, Girardi let David Huff (DAVID HUFF!!!) pitch the seventh inning of a tie game against the Blue Jays. Well, he let him start the seventh inning and once Huff put the first two hitters of the inning on base then Girardi brought in Dellin Betances, who eventually escaped a bases-loaded jam, most likely making Girardi believe in his own head that he made the right decision. Like I have always said, Girardi is the guy who stays with a 16 in Blackjack with the dealer showing a 7 and when the dealer flips over a 9 and then pulls a 10 to bust, Girardi thinks he made the right decision.

But even after some inexplicable moves over the weekend against the team the Yankees are currently battling for divisional and wild-card position, Monday was the boiling point once again. I couldn’t take it anymore when on Monday, for the second time in as many Mondays, his decision making was at the forefront of a Yankees loss to the Rangers — the worst team in Major League Baseball.

So once again, it was necessary to fill in for Michael Kay on my version of The Joe Girardi Show.

Why did David Phelps face J.P. Arencibia?
The better question here might be “Why did David Phelps throw the 0-2 pitch that he threw to J.P. Arencibia?” but if Phelps hadn’t faced Arencibia then he never would have been able to throw that 0-2 meatball.

Here was David Phelps’ line for the game before the fifth inning started: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 55 pitches. He gave up a single on five pitches to start the inning and then retired the next two hitters on four pitches. His updated line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 64 pitches.

After that, Elvis Andrus singled (first pitch), Alex Rios singled (third pitch), and Adrian Beltre doubled (third pitch). His updated line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 71 pitches.

At 8 p.m. last night in Arlington it was 88 degrees with 40 percent humidity and at 9 p.m. it was 86 degrees with 41 percent humidity. After giving up three hits in four innings, Phelps, who usually pitches in much different conditions, had just allowed four hits to the last six batters and after having thrown 37 pitches in the first three innings, he had now thrown 34 in the last 1 2/3 innings. Phelps was tiring and losing control of his pitches and the game, so what did Girardi do? He let him face Jim Adduci. And what did Phelps do? He walked him on four pitches.

Let’s recap: Phelps was cruising, having pitched four shutout innings and allowing just three hits and no walks on 55 pitches. He had now put five of the seven batters he faced in the inning on base and after giving up three consecutive hits, he had just walked a 29-year-old career minor leaguer, who entered the game with 73 career plate appearances in the majors, on four pitches. Would you say that David Phelps was fatigued, had lost control and should be removed from a tie game with one of the game’s best pitchers going against the Yankees? I would.

I know why Joe Girardi left David Phelps in the game. Arencibia entered the game hitting .147/.194/.305, and more importantly, he entered the game 1-for-11 with five strikeouts against Phelps, but this is where the binder backfires. Arencibia’s stat page against Phelps in Girardi’s binder says that he is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts against him, but it doesn’t say that the sun was melting Arlington on Monday night with Phelps laboring over the last four hitters and now having thrown 20 pitches already in the inning. Phelps had fully unraveled before he threw an 0-2 fastball to a hitter who loves fastballs, but Girardi decided a tired Phelps running on fumes was his best option in a pennant race with a rested elite bullpen. If Arencibia, having a horrible offensive year, has had so much trouble making contact against Phelps, who isn’t exactly a strikeout pitcher, wouldn’t he have even more trouble against a true strikeout pitcher out of the bullpen?

Single up the middle. 4-2 Rangers.

Why did Jacoby Ellsbury get the day off?
Before Monday’s game there were 58 games left in the season and the Yankees trailed in the division by 4 games and in the wild card by 1 game. On Monday, the Yankees were playing the worst team in the league with one of the best pitchers in the game on the mound, so you would think you would want to put your best offensive lineup together. If you want to rest someone, maybe give them a rest on Tuesday against Nick Martinez or on Wednesday against Colby Lewis. But against Yu Darvish? Why? Whyyyy?!?! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Ellsbury was eventually used as a pinch hitter to lead off the ninth, so his “day off” wasn’t a day off. But he wasn’t used as a pinch hitter with two on and two out in the eighth. Instead he used Zelous Wheeler in that spot because you have to have a right-handed hitter face a left-handed pitcher!

Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million deal in the offseason. He is making $21.1 million this season and is hitting LINE with HR and RBIs. He last stole He is one of several reasons that Robinson Cano is now playing in Seattle. He should be playing EV-ERY SING-LE GAME. Every one. He is 30 years old, not 40 and even if he has a history of freak injuries, and then babying those injuries, you can’t plan for freak injuries, and he needs to play every day.

Mike Francesa has repeatedly called Ellsbury “the Yankees’ best player” and in 2014 with a 40-year-old Derek Jeter, a bad Carlos Beltran, an inconsistent Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira being softer than ever, that’s not much of an accomplishment for Ellsbury. But if he is “the Yankees’ best player” he needs to play every day. That’s what “best players” do. Ask Robinson Cano.

If Mark Teixeira could pinch hit, why didn’t he play the whole game?
Mark Teixeira is the fraud of all frauds. He has received a free pass as a Yankee because the team won the World Series in his first year with the team thanks to Alex Rodriguez, who from 2004-2009 had to deal with the postseason ridicule that Teixeira should also have to deal with. If the Yankees were still looking for a championship since 2000, Teixeira wouldn’t be making appearances in Entourage and trying to be Johnny Carson for YES while on the disabled list.

Last February, Teixeira foreshadowed that he is breaking down despite at the time still being owed $90 million. He then got hurt preparing for the World Baseball Classic and played in just 15 games before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery. This season, Teixeira has missed time due to hamstring, wrist, rib cage, knee and lat injuries and also tired legs. The last time he played in a game was the series finale against the Reds last Sunday (July 20). After successfully taking on-field batting practice on Monday night in Texas it was made known that he was healthy enough to return to the lineup on Tuesday night.

Joe Girardi has this “rule” where once an injured player appears healthy enough to return to the lineup, they are given an extra day before returning. That would be a good “rule” to follow if there were a lot of off-days in baseball, but there aren’t and there aren’t any days that can be wasted when you’re chasing 4 (now 4.5) in the division and 1 (now 2) in the wild card. So if Teixeira was deemed eligible to play on Tuesday night, that means Monday was his “Girardi Day” where he would sit for no reason other than as an extra precaution like someone setting an alarm clock for their alarm clock.

One on, two out, trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning and Brian Roberts, who should no longer be on the team let alone in the lineup against Yu Darvish, is called back to the dugout for pinch hitter Mark Teixeira. He singled. What if Joe Girardi had played him the entire game?

I hope Paul O’Neill was watching Monday’s game because he would have seen how wrong he was on Sunday. Joe Girardi always plays for tomorrow. If he doesn’t stop, at the end of September, there won’t be a tomorrow to play for.