Saturday, June 5, 2010

Should Girardi have gone to Mo?

As soon as Chad Gaudin came marching out of the pen for the 14th inning today I knew the game was over, and I'm sure many of you felt the same way. Sure enough, Gaudin walked the first batter he faced on four pitches and two batters later the game was over with Mariano waiting for a save situation that never came.

I was on Twitter at the end of the game and many people, including beat writers, bloggers, and fans, began the debate well before Gaudin threw his first pitch. Should Girardi have called on Mariano Rivera, the greatest relief pitcher of all time, instead of the struggling Gaudin?

Conventional baseball wisdom tells you that you never use your closer in extra innings on the road unless it's a save situation, and managers generally stick to that rule. It makes sense most of the time, but in certain situations like today, when you're down to the final two guys in the pen, one is the greatest ever, and the other is Chad Guadin, I think you've got to go with Mo, and hope to at least extend the inning and give your offense another chance to score.

There are valid arguments on the other side.

Since Mo couldn't go two innings, what happens if the Yankees score a run in the 15th? Who closes?

What if they don't score in the 15th?

Neither of these situations are ideal, and Gaudin is just as likely to mess up and blow the game, but at least you gave yourself three more outs and a chance to put something on the board. Remember, the Jays were running low on relievers too, so the Yankees could have gone up in the 15th and put 3 or 4 on the board, making Gaudin's 15th much easier to deal with.

There are a lot of factors involved, and I'm not sure there is really a right answer here, but what do you think: Did Girardi make the right move today?

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