Thursday, August 13, 2015

When Joe Girardi Was Good At Bullpen Management

"Five run lead, two outs in the 9th? Bring me Andrew Miller"

Any Yankee fan can remember how hard it was to watch this team during Joe Torre's later years as the manager of the Yankees. He consistently used the same group of veteran arms out of the bullpen seemingly every single day and never found a rookie he would even consider trusting unless it was a blowout. Enter Joe Girardi for the 2008 season instilling hope and faith in all Yankees fans that the future was bright, even when the team missed the playoffs.

Girardi relied heavily on young arms that season and in 2009 when the team won the World Series and while he relied on his bullpen heavily he never overused one or two guys. Girardi had Mariano Rivera in his bullpen and brought us David Robertson while still managing to never seemingly have a pitcher in the top 20 or so in innings pitched out of the bullpen. That has all changed since the 2014 season.

Girardi seems to be sipping on the Torre milkshake and has overused some of his relief pitchers this season, namely Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson.Heading into last night's game both Betances and Wilson have pitched in over 50 games each while the likes of Chasen Shreve and Andrew Miller not far behind them. Girardi has also gone to the likes of Esmil Rogers and Chris Capuano time and time again while the dynamic duo were with the team earlier in the season. Well, before Brian Cashman got Girardi out of his own way by designating them both for assignment.

It's not just his overuse of pitchers that has me scratching my head it's his blatant disregard for using rookie pitchers as well. Mark Melancon was donned as the eventual replacement for Mariano Rivera and was ultimately shipped off in a trade after falling out of favor in New York. He pitched once every two weeks and came into games with obvious rust and command and control issues. This sounds eerily similar to the way Jose Ramirez was handled while in the Yankees bullpen. Ramirez does not have much to complain about though because Girardi flat out refused to use Bryan Mitchell or Shane Greene until it was absolutely necessary. Ramirez is gone, Greene is gone and now Mitchell has been delegated to long relief in the bullpen. The rest of the revolving door, Diego Moreno, Branden Pinder, etc. have not been used for the most part unless the game was well out of hand one way or the other.

Severino was brought into the rotation when the Yankees were essentially out of depth and at their wit's end with the rotation and the righty excelled is just two starts. Mitchell is called up and left to rot in the bullpen as Adam Warren gets used as a long man even though Mitchell was donned the long man by the same man making the in-game decisions, Girardi. Girardi or his binder.

Girardi use to manage a bullpen and do it well but lately it seems like the pressure to win and make the playoffs is hurting him much like it did Mr. Torre. At least Torre had a reason to worry, he was working for George Steinbrenner, Girardi doesn't. So if anyone in the Yankees organization is reading this please pass this along to Joe because it doesn't take an arm chair quarterback to see that you're doing it wrong. You're wearing out the arms of Betances, Wilson, Shreve and Miller and that won't work for anyone in the long term. Trust what you have, whether they have been there before or not.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)