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There's nothing like a long winning streak to make a manager look like a whiz kid.
Every move seems to pay off with a run or a big out, leaving a halo over the head of the man pulling the levers. Maybe some of the moves don't actually pay off, but no one notices that in the aftermath of victory.
After a defeat, though, every little decision gets microscopic treatment. Joe Girardi got a reminder of that on Tuesday night.
The Yankees' 10-game winning streak ended in a 4-3 loss to the Braves marked by three moments where the Yankees manager and coaches made decisions that make you scratch your head.
None of them were particularly egregious moves and none of them would have resonated a bit if the Yankees didn't go 2-11 with runners in scoring position or if Hiroki Kuroda could have gotten the third out a little quicker in the fourth or sixth innings, but those things didn't happen and so we discuss the decisions.
Mark Teixeira got thrown out by a mile while trying to score from second on a single with two outs in the fifth inning, a questionable choice given Teixeira's speed and Jason Heyward being a professional baseball player able to throw the ball on a straight line. Making matters worse, Tim Hudson was at 109 pitches and teetering on the brink when the Yankees bailed him out.
Curtis Granderson got gunned down at home in the seventh inning after breaking from third on a contact play that wound up as a grounder to Chipper Jones. A more defensible play than sending Teixeira, perhaps, but still one that might have been reaching a bit too far into the 1920s baseball bag of tricks for a team that hits home runs as frequently as the Yankees.
After Granderson was thrown out, Raul Ibanez came to the plate with two out to face lefty Eric O'Flaherty. Andruw Jones is on this team because of his ability to hit lefties while Ibanez enjoys seeing them about as much as the local Republican party boss, yet Girardi left Ibanez (who has hit O'Flaherty decently in the past) in to strike out meekly.
All three decisions backfired on the Yankees, but we're not here to bury Girardi. It takes a lot of things falling into place simultaneously to win 10 straight games and there's no shame in it not happening one night.
If anything, the loss makes you appreciate the winning streak all the more because it proved how thin the line can be between the two sides of the scoreboard.
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