The workloads of Coke and Hughes

Two very questionable decisions by Girardi the past few games:

1) Bunting Nick Swisher in the bottom of the 9th in Monday night’s game.  I am not going to go into this one too much, because it’s something I’ve ranted about extensively in the past.  The Yankees are not a bunting team.  You can’t give away outs.  Etc, etc.  This is the most obvious example though of it costing them a game.  The Yankees have a great team this year; I worry about stupid decisions like these derailing them in big spots.

2) Letting Phil Coke face a right-handed batter in yesterday’s game.  I’m not sure you use Coke at all in that spot anyways, but at best in a close game he should only face lefties.  Remember what happened when he was allowed to face Victor Martinez?  Everyone saw that coming.  The move there is to either let AJ face another batter or two or you go to Phil Hughes.  Remember him?  He’s probably the 5th or 6th best pitcher on the team, yet he rots in the bullpen when the Yankees need him to pitch innings this year.

In a 3-2 game with 3 innings left to play at home, Girardi needs to treat that game like a tie or a lead, unless his bullpen is depleted.  Because let’s face it: the odds of the Yankees pushing one run across is pretty good.  Yes, I understand they didn’t, but if the game was 3-2 the whole time, their approach may have been different.

Really, this leads to the question, are the Yankees purposely trying to save Hughes and Rivera for the playoffs, figuring they could potentially turn games into a 6-inning affair (or less if both pitchers pitch 2 innings)?

This isn’t a terrible idea of course, but right now Girardi is abusing Phil Coke and we’re seeing the effects of it.  Coke is the only reliever who seems to pitch in any game situation and it’s catching up with him.  He leads the Yankees in appearances by a large margin, which would be fine if he was simply a lefty-specialist; but he’s not being used as one, and Girardi needs to figure out a more suitable role for him.

Right now, I think they just need to give Coke some rest and perhaps rely on Marte some more – they need to see what Marte has to offer at this point anyways.


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