Had someone told us that Game 2 would be decided in part by managerial decisions, it’s sad to say we’d have assumed this would turn out badly for the Yankees. Not that we think Joe Girardi is a bad manager, but he’s made enough curious (to put it nicely) decisions thus far in the playoffs that it’s not hard to imagine him overmanaging his way to a loss sometime in the World Series. Last night, though, he batted a thousand.
He resisted the urge to let Jorge Posada catch A.J. Burnett (especially since the righty’s last outing didn’t go very well), and Burnett turned in a gem. For good measure, Molina picked a runner off first. Girardi also finally benched Nick Swisher, and replacement Jerry Hairston Jr. came through with a rally-starting hit in the seventh.
Then in that seventh inning, Girardi pinch-ran for Hairston (pinch-running for A-Rod is unacceptable; pinch-running for Hairston is acceptable), and chose to hit and run with Melky Cabrera at bat instead of asking him to bunt. It worked: Cabrera singled to right, Gardner made it to third, and he eventually scored on pinch-hitter Jorge Posada’s RBI single to center. All of this was done off Pedro Martinez, whom Phillies manager
Grady Little Charlie Manuel left in the game too long.
Manuel also paid in the eighth inning when he chose not to start the runners on first and second with a full count on Chase Utley and one out. Utley hit into a double play, stranding Ryan Howard in the on-deck circle. You only get so many chances against Mariano Rivera, and Manuel wasted his. Just like you only get so many chances against Pedro Martinez — except Joe Girardi took full advantage. Keep this game in mind when “Fire Girardi” becomes a popular sentiment again next time the Yankees fall behind by a run.