Yankees Swept by Red Sox Because of Girardi

Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

At the most critical of times during the four-game series against the Boston Red Sox, it appeared Joe Girardi managed out of fear instead of ingenuity.

There was so much that went wrong this past weekend, that contributed the Yankees being swept right out of Boston, that’s it’s hard to even know where to begin.

Dellin Betances has been overused so mightily since the Yankees dealt away Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, that even Mets closer Jeurys Familia has to stop and take notice.

Betances pitched on three consecutive days last week (56 pitches in total), garnering two losses over 2.2 IP, while allowing five hits, six runs scored, and a soul crushing blown save on Thursday night, after entering the game with 5-2 Yankees lead.

Now I’m almost willing to give Girardi a pass on overworking his closer because of how plain dreadful the rest of the Yankees bullpen has been.

I wrote last week that with the season being on the line and nowhere else to turn, you expect your best players to step up in dire straights–yet Betances showed that between mounting arm and mental fatigue, he isn’t yet up to the task of answering the bell.

Instead of allowing Betances to become a New York media punching bag, why would Girardi not do something wild, like call upon another young shooter–one who up until yesterday, had thrived out of the ‘pen?

I’m talking about Luis Severino. Yes, he walked more batters (3) than hits allowed (2) on Sunday, but if Girardi had gotten a bit wild and crazy, and used that lively fastball of Severino’s with a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Thursday evening, perhaps the entire tide of the series would have changed.

The elephant in the room is why did Girardi continue to pitch to Hanley Ramirez, who is having an absolute renaissance in 2016?

First, there was the walk-off home run to begin the series, followed by another dinger in Boston’s 7-4 win Friday night, culminating in Sunday afternoon’s two moonshots–a three-run bomb off CC Sabathia in the fifth, and another long home run over the Green Monster in the seventh off reliever Tyler Clippard.

Why in the world would Girardi allow his inept pitchers to give up four taters and a nine pack of RBI to a guy on a tear?

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After the defeat, Girardi said walking Ramirez to load the bases to face the potential game-tying run in Chris Young, “Doesn’t make any sense to me.’’

So even though Girardi acknowledged that Ramirez has had “an incredible September,” (he’s hitting .421 with runners in scoring position since Aug. 11), he’d rather face Ramirez because he was 0-10 against CC entering the game.

Was is the operable word in that sentence. I would have preferred to think that Ramirez was due to excel–which he did.

“What if [Young] hit a home run?’’ Girardi said. “I trust CC.’’ And what if he didn’t? I can do this all day.

Sabathia must have some kind of blackmail against his manager, because how is it that Girardi continually lets the aging left-hander throw his flat array of pitches even when he’s past the point of exhaustion.

Not only did Ramirez know that an 88 mph fastball was coming with a 3-1 count in the fifth inning, but Girardi kept Sabathia in for the sixth as he gave up the tying run on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s single.

Managing 162 games is a marathon. And since Aug. 1, the level of pressure on the Yankees’ manager had been anything but relentless.

But it’s the same tired old rhetoric spewing from Girardi’s mouth at this point, “We’re not playing good enough to win. … I don’t lose faith, it’s not who I am. I know some people do, but I don’t. You got to go play better, that’s all. We’ve shown we can do that, we just have to go do it.’’

He’s starting to sound a little like Rex Ryan, minus the expletives–and we know how hot that seat up in Buffalo is.

Next: Rob Refsnyder is Running Out of Time

Perhaps this team lacks a bit of mental toughness–players and coaching staff included. Unfortunately, if the organization as a whole doesn’t learn from the failures they’ve encountered on the field over the past 10 days or so, the 2017 season will begin much how this one is ending.