The Yankees Took Sunday Off

End of road trip comes with an eye on the future

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    A loss you can smile through for the Yankees.

    Herman Edwards is not Joe Girardi's spiritual advisor.

    The former Jets coach made it very clear that he believed you play to win the game, but the Yankees manager spent Sunday arguing that there are times when the bigger picture makes it okay to pass on a chance to win.

    Girardi rested three starters, didn't push his bullpen and generally seemed to be trying to get the 3-0 loss in Toronto over with as quickly as possible.

    It was hard to argue with his decision. It was the final game of a long road trip, the implosion of the Red Sox means that the Yankees have a comfortable lead in the race for the AL East and the Yankees have five games in the next four days so rest is going to come at a premium as the final weeks of the season unfold. 

    Four of those games are against the Rays and the three after that are against the Red Sox, so the Yankees will obviously want to be at their best when those teams roll into town. With a 4.5 game edge in the division race, there's a nice cushion that simply needs to be maintained while those two divisonal rivals fight for the Wild Card.

    Girardi didn't know what Freddy Garcia would do on the mound when the day got underway, but his decision to rest key bats looked even wiser when Garcia turned in a third straight poor start. The Yankees are going to need as much offense as they can get once the calender flips to October, which makes a day of rest that much easier to appreciate.

    And, on top of all that, Mariano Rivera is standing on the lip of history thanks to Saturday's save which leaves him tied for the most saves of all time with Trevor Hoffman. It would be awfully sweet to see Rivera get number 602 at home after being serenaded by Metallica and a crowd that loves him instead of in the antiseptic building once known as the SkyDome.

    So don't hate on Girardi for choosing to pass on sending Derek Jeter or Curtis Granderson up to pinch hit with a runner on in the eighth. Every game matters, but none of them matters as much individually as the overall race.

    Girardi used that as his guide on Sunday and the Yankees could well have a better chance to win because they accepted a loss to the Blue Jays.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.