Girardi’s Indecision Allows Morales To Strike Again

GAME 18
ANGELS 8, YANKEES 4

Manager Joe Girardi thinks to walk switch-hitter Kendry Morales, then he thinks to bring in right-hander David Robertson for Damaso Marte and then he thinks to let Marte throw a 3-0 pitch to Morales with the game on line.
The result was not pretty.
Morales blasted a two-out three-run home run to give the Los Angeles Angels a 8-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
It was Morales’ second game-winning home run of the series. In the three weekend games against the Yankees, he was 7-for-10 with two home runs and six RBIs.
Scott Kazmir (2-1) pitched 5 1/3 shaky innings but still was credited the victory. Javier Vazquez (1-3), who has the distinction of losing half the Yankees’ games this himself, pitched horribly again and was the loser.
The Yankees’ record dropped to 12-6 and they fell 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East standings. The Angels evened their season record to 10-10.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • It is hard to win a game with only three hits, but two of the Yankees’ hitters came to play on Sunday: Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada.
  • Cano blasted a solo home run in to the right field stands of Kazmir in the fifth inning to make the score 5-4. Cano now has five home runs and 14 RBIs on the season, both of which lead the team.
  • Posada came up in the second inning after Cano had been hit by a pitch and drilled and two-run home run that gave the Yankees an early 2-0 lead on Kazmir. Posada has four home runs and 11 RBIs on the season.
  • Derek Jeter drove in the third run in the second inning by beating out a attempted double play that scored Marcus Thames from third base. Thames had the only other hit in the game for the Yankees with his double off Kazmir after Posada’s home run.
  • Left-hander Boone Logan and right-hander Alfredo Aceves did their job by shutting down the Angels after they had scored five runs off Vazquez. Combined the pair pitched to nine batters and gave up only one hit. That hit was a single by — you guessed it — Morales.
THE NEGATIVES

  • This loss is squarely on the shoulders of Girardi and his indecision in the seventh inning. This is very similar to the loss in Game 3 of the A.L. Championship Series to the Angels. In that game, Girardi replaced a perfectly dominant David Robertson in bottom of the 11th inning to have Aceves pitch to Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis. Both Kendrick and Mathis doubled and the Yankees lost the game 5-4.
  • Vazquez is actually very close to becoming the Yankees’ next version of Ed Whitson, who came to the Yankees in 1985 after a 14-8 record and a 3.24 with San Diego Padres. Whitson was 10-8 with a 4.88 ERA that season and was booed so heavily in 1986 he was sent to the bullpen with an ERA of 7.54. An angry fan actually followed Whitson home after one bad outing and Whitson was quickly traded back to San Diego at midseason.
  • In his three losses, Vazquez has given up 17 runs on 19 hits and eight walks in 14 2/3 innings. That is an ERA of 10.43 and a WHIP of 1.84. 
  • Marte entered the game with a perfect ERA but it was immediately apparent that Marte entered the game without any control. He walked left-hand hitter Bobby Abreu on fi
    ve pitches and hit right-hand hitter Torii Hunter with his second pitch, which lit the fuse in the seventh inning. After forcing Abreu at third an a Matsui slow roller, I was sure that Girardi would have Marte walk Morales so Robertson could come in to pitch to Juan Rivera, who was 2-for-9 in the series and batting 90 points lower than Morales. But I was wrong.
DIAMOND NOTES

Girardi said after the game: “I screwed up, in a sense. I could have done it (walked Morales). Your first instinct is sometimes your best.”  . . .  Bobby Abreu owes Javier Vazquez a nice Christmas card every year. His home run in the third inning was his 10th home run off Vazquez in just 72 at-bats.  . . .  Yankees DH Nick Johnson was not in the lineup on Sunday but said his lower back stiffness was getting better. Johnson said he hopes to play Tuesday when the Yankees open a series with the Orioles in Baltimore.  . . .  The loss on Sunday broke the Yankees’ series winning streak at five. If they had won they would have set a franchise record.  . . .  The loss also means the Yankees have now lost three of their last four games.  . . .  The Yankees stopped to visit the White House on Monday to meet with President Barack Obama. The president honored the Yankees for their 27th world championship in a ceremony in the East Room. He said, “This is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close. Of course, if I had [Mariano] Rivera, I’d get pretty close too.” Obama is a devoted fan of his hometown Chicago White Sox. The Yankees presented him with pinstriped No. 27 jersey signed by the team and he posed with the team holding the championship trophy.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees move to their last series in a long 11-day road trip by opening a series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Phil Hughes (2-0, 2.19 ERA) will start for the Yankees. In his last start on April 21, he no-hit the Oakland A’s for seven innings before settling for a 3-1 victory. He is 2-2 with a 6.82 ERA against the Orioles in his career.
The 3-16 Orioles will counter with their ace, Kevin Millwood (0-3, 3.38 ERA). Millwood gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in a loss to the Mariners on April 21. In nine career starts against the Yankees Millwood is 2-4 with a 4.86 ERA.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast locally by the MY9.
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