Watching the Yankees bullpen blow not one, but two leads on Opening Day against the Red Sox was awful. Joe Girardi showed last night he actually learned a few things from the loss.
- Not to leave your starter in too long when he’s laboring.
- Not to use Chan Ho Park against the Red Sox, ever.
- Using Dave Robertson in the eighth, not the sixth.
But there was one thing I would’ve done differently. Mariano Rivera should’ve been in the game for the eighth inning, not the ninth. No, he wouldn’t have gotten the save, but he would’ve handled Nos. 4-6 in the lineup instead of Nos. 8-1.
It took Girardi all three setup men to make it through the eighth, but it did work, thanks to two big strikeouts from the Joba Chamberlain of old.
Many fans actually started to leave after the eighth inning, even though the Red Sox were down just a single run. If Girardi had sent Mo out for the eighth, fans would’ve already been leaving before he threw his first pitch.
No manager will ever sign off on this idea because it, of course, takes away a save for the closers. But really, the eighth inning of last night’s game was the most important inning. Maybe if the save statistic was up for officials to choose after the game instead of just handing out to the guy who recorded the last out, managers would be more likely to use a strategy like this.
Chamberlain was as close as he’s ever been to 2007 form last night. According to Mark Feinsand, he hit 97 MPH when he struck out Adrian Beltre (Fenway gun had 96). Then he displayed off his slider to J.D. Drew and made him look foolish. This is a very good sign going forward.
Alfredo Aceves was also brilliant last night. A.J. Burnett didn’t retire the side in order once. Ace would’ve done it both innings if it weren’t for Derek Jeter’s throwing error.
Lastly, Dave Robertson has thrown 10 pitches in two outings thus far. That’s awesome. I assume this means he’s a go for tonight.