Joe Girardi gets criticized for rarely second guessing himself in public, but the truth is, very few managers or coaches do that.
Girardi broke from the mold today, skewering himself after the Yankees 8-4 loss.
“I screwed up,” he said.
As most know by now, Girardi initially called for an intentional walk of Kendry Morales in the seventh inning today and Marte delivered a ball to Francisco Cervelli. Girardi then popped out of the dugout, only to stop after several strides and go back. Alex Rodriguez could be seen putting out both hands -- it wasn't clear who he was gesturing at and what the meaning was -- as Girardi got back into the dugout, and soon visited Marte on the mound, perhaps to get clarification for what they were going to do with Morales.
"Alex may have been shocked that we were walking him," Girardi said.
Regardless, Girardi changed his mind.
His instinct, and what brought him out of the dugout, was to call in righty Dave Robertson to finish the intentional walk and then face Juan Rivera. Rivera was 1-for-1 all-time against Robertson and Morales, 6-for-9 to that point in the series, was 1-for-3 against Marte.
“I probably should have stuck with my first instinct,” Girardi said.
Everyone by now knows the result -- Kendry Morales, who finished the series 7-for-10 with six RBI, crushing a 3-and-0 pitch to left-center for a three-run homer that broke things open to make it 8-4.
“3-and-0 he’s waiting for a fastball and I threw him a fastball," Marte said. "He hit it.”
Girardi, meanwhile, was verbally hitting himself over his call, or non-call.
“Over 162 games you’re not always going to make the right move and the bottom line is, none of us are perfect,” Girardi said. “There are things that you are going to think about long and hard and this is one of them.”
*** And then there was Javier Vazquez, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He's now 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA.
"It’s frustrating I can tell you that,” Vazquez said. “It’s embarrassing the way I’m throwing the ball.”
Girardi said there are mechanical issues causing some of Vazquez's pitches to stay flat and having an impact on his fastball velocity, which the pitcher agreed with.
“I know that some things are mechanical but right now I’m just not making the pitches,” Vazquez said. “As much as you want to talk about mechanics, I have to get it done.”
*** And finally, the Yankees will visit the White House Monday afternoon, but first making a stop to visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center and the nearby Malone House, a long-term rehabilitation home for soldiers.
Nick Swisher said he had “goose bumps” thinking about going to the White House but was also looking forward to what takes place before. Last season during a series in Baltimore he, accompanied by several teammates including Johnny Damon, took a trip to Walter Reed.
“Those guys are the true heroes,” Swisher said of the soldiers. “Those guys are the reasons we have this here today. To be able to tell those guys thank you face to face, that’s where it’s at.”
As for the White House, it's old hat for players like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
“You never get tired of meeting a president,” said Jeter, who actually met President Obama last summer in the American League clubhouse before the All-Star game in St. Louis.
For Pettitte, he’ll be meeting his fourth president, having also become friendly with President George H. W. Bush.
“I think just growing up and seeing the Oval Office and stuff like that and then the [Rose Garden] outside the office when they hold some kind of special [event] and then all of a sudden you’re standing there,” Pettitte said. “I guess it’s like the first time you go to Fenway or the first time you go to Wrigley, that’s what it kind of was like for me. It’s kind of cool. It's always a thrill to meet a president.”
In what has to be one of the best perks of this job, I'll be at the White House tomorrow so we'll have some report from there. Enjoy the rest of the night.