How close did we come to losing that game last night? The Yanks were cruising to a 7-0 win last night against a very good hitting team. The Orioles are no slouches with the bat and should have been shown more respect than they were.
Nova had pitched a good game and had been helped by the fact that all the hitters had done their bits and got on bases, helped move those on bases, and scored. Those are the things needed from the Yankees. But by the 7th inning he started to look jaded and whereas normally Betances would take the mound in the 7th, Joe decided that Nova would try his luck that little bit longer.
Here a smart manager would have hedged his bets by getting Miller to warm up. He might even have shown faith and let Nova take on a batter and see what happened, maybe even two batters, before getting Miller up in the Pen. But he didn’t do that. He let Nova keep pitching even though he gave up a homer, a single, a homer , a single and a walk before taking him out of the game. Then he brings in Nick Goody to face Adam Jones only because he was a right-hand pitcher facing a right-hand batter. That kind of logic only works if the pitcher is a good one and can handle the tense pressure of facing a game situation like last night. With two men on, a powerful hitter at the plate, and nobody out with a big lead being frittered away. Goody was not able for it and that was how the game was almost lost.
Miller then came into the game and did the job, and Chapman saw them home after A-Rod got an RBI when he got a hit that got Hicks home. So while we could all breathe a heavy sigh of relief there is the unease or at least there should be the unease among Yanks fans and people, that this is a team that is ready to shoot itself in the foot at all times. The decisions that Joe makes sometimes are so bad that they are infuriating. And these decisions last night were infuriating. Beyond a doubt.
Yes, the Yanks won a close game. That is good. They should the kind of hustle to get it done in big pressure situations that might just help the team in the stretch. But it should never have gotten that close, and for once I would like to be able to watch or listen to a Yanks game without the gut-wrenching torment of seeing them getting hammered, or worse seeing them lead a game only to throw it away. Joe needs to stop trying to be clever now, there is no need for it. Keep it simple and we won’t have near misses like last night anymore. Keep overthinking it, and we will have more clustercusses than we have wins.