Sunday, March 2, 2008

Marlins Owner Takes Shot at Girardi

From Anthony McCarron:

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Joe Girardi hasn't talked much about the difficulties he had in Florida in his one-year stint as Marlins manager in 2006, but he is still on the mind of Florida owner Jeffrey Loria, who appeared to tweak the Yankee manager Saturday.

Said Loria Saturday in Marlins camp: "With the exception of last year, when we had the chain of injuries primarily hung over from the year before when there were decisions made that were not great decisions, this team has always been formidable."

Loria was referring to the rash of injuries that struck the young Marlins pitchers. In 2006, the Marlins had four pitchers who won 10 or more games, but three of them - Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez - got hurt last year. Girardi once brought back Johnson after an 81-minute rain delay; Johnson later had Tommy John surgery. He has never blamed Girardi, but it seems Loria still does.

Let's look at the innings breakdown of these three pitchers:

Ricky Nolasco: 2006 -140.1, 2005 -161.2
Josh Johnson: 2006 - 159, 2005 - 152
Anibal Sanchez: 2006 - 200, 2005 - 136

The only pitcher who had a significant jump in innings was Anibal Sanchez. While Johnson's innings actually went down, and Nolasco's innings were basically the same. So with the exception of Sanchez, Girardi did a good job keeping their innings down.

Then I looked at pitch counts. In most of the games Nolasco pitched he stayed under the 100 pitch mark, and Sanchez threw over 100 pitches in only around half of his starts. Johnson on the other hand regularly threw more than 100 pitches and reached the 105+ pitch mark twelve times. Remember, Johnson is the one who had Tommy John surgery.

This is my only concern with Girardi; was he to blame for all the injuries the Marlins pitchers had last year? And can he handle the young pitchers on this Yankees staff?

As far as the latter is concerned, we will all find out soon enough.