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23.02.2018

This is what happens when Girardi tries to win games, not friends.

Joe Girardi emphasized winning a game over a popularity contest. He managed as if it were October two weeks into September. He knew it would hurt feelings, and it did those of Jaime Garcia and Dellin Betances. Both had a case of Vex in the Citi. But Girardi thought the pain of blowing Wednesday’s game...
Time: 19:05     Date: 13.09.2017
Last US Sport News: This is what happens when Girardi tries to win games, not friends. NY Post 24 - US News

He managed as if it were October two weeks into September. He knew it would hurt feelings, and it did those of Jaime Garcia and Dellin Betances. Both had a case of Vex in the Citi.

But Girardi thought the pain of blowing Wednesday’s game would be more devastating — to them, him and the Yankees. So he prioritized his gut and brain over their pride.

“I had a couple of difficult choices today,” Girardi understated.

That it all worked out for the manager and the team — Yankees 3, Rays 2 — made it all a little easier to digest, a little more comfortable to discuss.

Girardi was both more expansive and even a little more vulnerable than normal afterward in discussing why he lifted Garcia one out shy of a win in the fifth inning and Betances with two out in the eighth — both pitchers showing on the mound how frustrated they were by their manager’s quick hook.

Girardi said he was not upset by the anger, understood and even appreciated the competitiveness that fueled it. He conceded, “I am not always going to be right, but I have to make the moves I believe in my heart.” This is life as a manager when the meaning of each game is so understandable, and there is a bit of fall in the air. You manage thinking big picture from April-through-August pretty much, and pitch by pitch, at-bat by at-bat and inning by inning come Sept. 1.

Girardi speaks with Garcia.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The Yankees have been in playoff mode for a few weeks now, on dual tracks of trying to separate themselves from the rest of the wild-card pack while also attempting to hunt down the Red Sox. That has forced Girardi to separate those he trusts from those he does not.

And the area of the team he has the most faith in is his bullpen, and so if he sees the opportunity to control a game with it — especially with Garcia or CC Sabathia starting — Girardi is not going to hesitate. His actions in three games as a visitor at Citi Field accentuated this.

He removed both Sabathia and Garcia out with leads in the fifth inning — just shy of earning a personal victory — with Rays third-place hitter Evan Longoria due up for a third time in the game. Girardi had more confidence in David Robertson Monday night and Chad Green Wednesday afternoon, and in both cases his thought process and instincts were validated by the results.

Look, Girardi is not going to win a warm and cuddly contest or an open mic competition at a comedy club. But even his greatest detractors would agree he is uber-prepared. He has been churning scenarios for hours, not making decisions as they arise.

When it comes to the kind of decisions to lift Garcia and later Betances in the eighth in favor of Aroldis Chapman, Girardi said: “We’ve thought about it, discussed it. It is not done on a whim.”

This is all you can ask from a manager ultimately — doing the work, thinking it out and having solid reasons for his choices.

Garcia was clearly peeved leaving the field, and Girardi talked to him in the dugout — after Green induced a flyball — to tell the veteran lefty he had pitched well, but hadn’t pitched in 11 days, and in the manager’s mind this was the right move. A few hours later, Garcia said he appreciated the gesture.

Betances, also obviously perturbed not to be allowed to finish his set-up inning, was gone by the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse. Girardi said if he has to talk to Betances, he will.

“Once you get to this point in the season, you have to make some personal sacrifices for the team,” Girardi said.

This would have been less stressful had the Yankees broken the game open, allowed more leeway for Girardi to have greater latitude with pitchers. But after Brett Gardner’s two-run single in the second made it 3-0, the Yankees went hitless in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

They, in fact, scored in just three of 27 innings in this series. Yet, they won two of three because they held Tampa to just five runs in all. A lot of that had to do with how early and often — and successfully — Girardi turned to his pen.

That has been the formula for a few weeks and will be until the Yankees season ends. It won’t win popularity contests for the manager. He will take wins in plenty of games instead.

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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