Joe Girardi took a pretty bold step for a grown-up charged with leading other grown-ups when he agreed to get braces on his teeth because his daughter was nervous about getting them. To return the favor, his daughter should teach Daddy the rule about "no backsies."
He could have used it in Anaheim Sunday. The Yankees were down 5-4 in the seventh inning with two on and two out. Kendry Morales was at the plate, hitting righty because Damaso Marte was pitching for the Yankees. Morales is a weaker hitter from the right side but it appeared the Yankees were still choosing to take their chances of getting beaten by someone other than the Angels' best hitter when Marte threw ball one way wide.
It's not an easy decision to love as first base wasn't open and, as mentioned, Morales was hitting from his lesser side of the plate. It was a decision, though, and you could live with it. Problem is, Girardi couldn't and suddenly shifted gears so Marte could pitch to Morales. Marte threw two non-intentional balls to run the count to 3-0, which would seem a perfect spot to just bite the bullet and go back to the original plan but he grooved a meatball that Morales deposited over the fence for the final nail in an 8-4 Yankee loss.
That description can't do justice to just how brutal it was to watch the whole thing play out. To his credit, Girardi admitted he handled the inning poorly but this isn't a new problem. The manager's penchant for making three moves when none would be ideal popped up often last season and was a major factor in both the team's losses in the ALCS. Those games were in Anaheim, of course, so maybe the waterfall/rock pile dealie in center field screws with Girardi's head.
The most shocking thing about the whole ordeal is that there was no point in all of his mental gymnastics that Girardi realized you can't unspill milk. Telling Marte, who wasn't pitching particularly well in the first place, to go from throwing four wide ones to trying to bear down for a big out is a very difficult thing to do. Once Girardi made the call to intentionally walk Morales, whether or not it was the right call, he had to stick with it and let things play out.
Girardi's done enough right over the last two-plus years to earn a ring so we'll try not to make too big a deal out of this. It would be nice to just see him let the occasional situation play itself out, something that's likely impossible for a guy who was calling every pitch from the bench on Sunday. We'll close the file on this with two last thoughts.
The first is that Joba Chamberlain would seem to only be of value to the Yankees as a reliever if he's pitching in high leverage situations in close games so maybe it's time to just see how that goes. Second is that none of this would matter if Javier Vazquez didn't stink again and maybe Girardi just decided to leap on a grenade to keep the focus off a guy who probably has a lot more boos in his future at Yankee Stadium.