Thursday, October 11, 2012

0 Girardi got it done

By Kenny Howell

The New York Yankees deserved to win last night.

I feel so disgusting after saying that. I am pretty sure a puppy or kitten dies somewhere when someone utters those words, but it’s the truth.

It’s not because they were the better team, although they are. It’s because Joe Girardi had the guts to do something most would not. He pulled his struggling marquee player from the lineup in a clutch situation, and it paid off. Big time.

Girardi pinch hit for future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, with the Yankees down. He replaced him with a 40-year-old Raul Ibanez, a guy who has only made All-Star once his career.

Ibanez tied the game with a homer in the bottom of the ninth to keep the Yankees alive, then won the game in the bottom of the 12th with another home run.

Most managers wouldn’t have made that move because of fear of what that star player might do, knowing his manager didn’t have confidence enough in him to get it done in a clutch at bat. That has been the knock on Alex Rodriguez his whole career, but he continued to get at bats in those situations. Because, let’s face it, he is one of the best players of this generation, PEDs or not. Eventually, you would think that player would come up big in that situation, but Rodriguez has only occasionally done it.

How many players have been in that situation? There have been countless star players going through rough slumps that the fans and media want out of or lower in the lineup. But it almost never happens, except occasionally after an extended slump. Girardi did it after just a few bad games for Rodriguez. He wasn’t elite this season, but he still shows flashes of what he once was.

The Orioles are a great story, and I hope they can come back and win the final two games of the series. But if Girardi continues to handle tough decisions like last night with authority, the Yanks are, once again, going to be tough to beat. 


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