Game 1 out of 162 does in fact matter  

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I'm growing quite tired of the "don't worry, it's a long season" mentality swimming around the Internet today, after the Yankees opening night loss. While it is in fact only 1/162 of the season, 1/162 matters. And because it was against Boston, it matters twice as much, literally. Instead of being a game up against their toughest competition, they are now a game behind. That's a two game swing.

The Yankees will have to be two games better in 2010 than they would have had to been if they won a winnable game last night. Will those two games matter? Of course there's no way of knowing that now, but it's definitely possible. And because of the weakness of the human mind, we'll look at blown games in September if/when the Yankees should fall short. Because it won't be fresh in our minds, we'll forget about the game played on 4/4. But we shouldn't. That game was important.

Even more importantly, though, is that this game gave us a glimpse into the mind of Joe Girardi, and the image is not pretty. Although CC had only given up one hit through five innings, his control and effectiveness were decreasing. Going into the sixth, he was at about 86 pitches or so. While CC is a horse, he might not yet be in midseason form. Furthermore, the Redsox had their 2, 3 and 4 hitters due up, who would be facing CC for the third time. Each time a hitter faces a pitcher, he gains an advantage because he's becoming more familiar with the "stuff" the pitcher has on that particular night. He also learns how the pitcher wants to approach the at bats. And of course, a fatigued pitcher is less effective than a fresh one.

CC at 86 pitches, facing guys for a third time, is less of a pitcher than CC at 0 pitches facing batters for the first time. CC @ 86/3rd is also most likely < Robertson @ 0/1st.

But Girardi kept CC in to start the 6th. Pulling a pitcher who has only given up one hit would be so against conventional wisdom that I won't fault Girardi too much for leaving him in. But CC should have been on a short leash, and he wasn't. Two batters later, and there are guys on 2nd and 3rd with Youk coming up.

At this point, Girardi blew the game by leaving CC in. Sabs was closing in on 100 pitches, and we had more evidence that he was cooked. But Joe left him in because Ortiz, a lefty was on deck. Youk, the much better hitter, was effectively an afterthought just so Girardi could play the lefty/lefty matchup a batter later. After Youk doubled, Girardi got the lefty matchup that he wanted, but the damage was already done.

Robertson stopped the bleeding very quickly, but wasn't given the opportunity to pitch the 7th. He was pulled, instead for Chan Ho "are you kidding me?" Park.

When Park was signed, it was pointless at best, and a waste of a couple of million, but his damage would be minimized as the last man out of the Pen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd be used in such a high leverage situation.

Robertson had only thrown a couple of pitches, Marte and Joba were available, and even Hughes was avaiable because he doesn't make his first start until April 14th. You have an off day tomm, so Mo is DEFINITELY available. Get through the 7th and 8th, and you have Mo close it out for the win.

Park immediately gives up the lead (which was reaquired the previous half inning) in extraordinary fashion, and is STILL left in the game to give up yet another double.

Marte and Joba proved mediocre last night as well, but at that point the damage was done. Besides, if your best relievers give up the lead, you tip your cap to the other team. What's unacceptable, however, is for your WORST relievers to give up the lead when they don't need to be in the game.

Park was mediocre to terrible for most of his career. He was decent in 2008, for the 2nd half of 2009 and then for 17 innings in spring training. He should not be on the 25 man roster, let alone pitching such high-leverage innings. Meanwhile, Mo never made it into the game.

I am NOT pleased.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 at Monday, April 05, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



So many games get played between now and September that it's not possible for the first game of the season to really matter. When it comes down to it and they are tied with 10 games left, those games will truly decide who wins the division.

April 14, 2010 at 8:32 PM

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