Girardi said intentionally loading the bases in the first inning was because of the matchup and because of the opposing starter. CC Sabathia had great numbers against Carlos Pena, and Girardi expected a low-scoring game against James Shields. “Sean Rodriguez has hit (Sabathia) hard,” Girardi explained. “And it’s not something I’ll do a lot in the first inning with CC, but as I said, Shields has been pretty tough on us. … I felt good about CC getting him out, but it didn’t work.”If you're wondering, here was CC's take:
“I knew I had some success off him, but like I said, it’s a lefty so I knew if I make the right pitches then we get out of it. … It was a lefty, so I felt like it was the right move.”The problem I had with the move (before the home run happened by the way) goes beyond batting average against and any kind of stat. I just feel that you don't manage games in April like it's October. It's far too early in the season for this kind of crap.
Also, and probably more importantly, CC had no command in that first inning and putting him in a situation against a power hitter who has hurt the Yankees in the past, with no margin for error, was just asking for trouble in my opinion. Pena can also hit a fastball and that was all he saw that at-bat, also due to CC's lack of early command. Luckily, it's only game 1 of a very long 162-game schedule and pretty much meaningless.