Girardi played it smart down the stretch, and reaped the benefits
The topic of whether or not
It seems apparent that Girardi refused to put a meaningless regular-season title ahead of his players' health and a chance to avoid pitching nemesis (and possible future Yankee)
Girardi did exactly the right thing.
Even some Yankees people late in the regular season were starting to question Girardi for what they perceived as a "mixed message'' about the value of an AL East title as they finished their final 26 games with a very un-Yankees-like 9-17 record. The team looked like it was sliding downhill, and some folks inside the organization were concerned.
But now, after the wild-card-winning Yankees avoided the possibility of having to confront Lee twice in a five-game ALDS and instead faced their favorite October patsy, the Twins, whom they again eliminated in three straight, Girardi's strategy shouldn't be questioned at all. As things stand today, the Yankees, who advanced to the ALCS unscathed and basically untouched, couldn't be in better shape. They are healthy, well-rested and on a roll at the right time. And Girardi deserves plaudits for that.
"He doesn't get enough credit for the way he runs a ball club in a market like this, as tough as it is,'' Twins manager
Girardi has to pay some lip service to going all-out to win, which he did again after the ALDS, when he talked about how his club wanted home field -- "Believe me, we were trying. We were trying to win our division.'' And it's fair to say, it clearly wasn't anything like a tank job, as
They certainly didn't try to lose. They just didn't treat the mostly meaningless games as must-wins.
But if Girardi is really going all-out for the division crown, there is no way
That's OK. The Yankees tried hard enough. They got what they wanted. Thanks to Girardi, they are in the best possible position to defend their World Series title. Girardi and the Yankees did nothing wrong. They were wise to approach their final regular-season games as essentially meaningless when they already had the coveted playoff spot wrapped up. They weren't going to risk hurting themselves for the "reward'' of drawing Lee, a proven playoff warrior.
Once again, after the Twins were dispatched without much muss or fuss, Girardi called all the talk of a "mixed message'' a "misunderstanding.'' Whatever the case, it worked out well for the team trying to win its 28th World Series title. How many division titles have they won? Exactly. Nobody around there cares.
Girardi's call to start a diminished
In every case, what Girardi did was proper for his team. The goal, as it always is for the Yankees, is to win another World Series.
Even if some of those working at 161st and River didn't think that Girardi handled the situation perfectly at the time, the result was perfect. Girardi's team swept a Twins team that was laboring worse than them at the end. ("They were horrible,'' one AL scout said.) It's a Twins team that has no October shot against them.
Gardenhire had to be asked about his team's inability to beat the Yankees in the postseason. And he had to respond exactly the way he did.
"That's a sad question,'' he snapped at the questioner after Game 2.
Gardenhire has to pretend that the elephant in the room doesn't exist. But there has to be serious doubt in the Minnesota clubhouse.
The Twins are a game team that can play the Yankees to a draw over a 162-game schedule, yet can't beat them come October. The Yankees are a better, more talented team. But nine-straight-October-games-in-a-row better?
There is little doubt that the Twins are psyched out by the Yankees, if not intimidated. Hey, it happens. The Twins are a scrappy bunch of overachievers who are to be commended for winning their division even after losing
If any one player can be intimidating, it's Rivera. The Twins have to know that they can't be behind when the eighth inning comes around. That puts a lot of pressure on a team.
Considering that Nathan and Morneau were out and
Alderson has close ties to commissioner
White Sox assistant GM
But Alderson is the type of name that Mets fans seem to be craving now.
It also doesn't hurt that he appears to want the job. "The baseball side of the business is the fun side,'' Alderson, 62, said by phone. "The possibility of devoting all my time to the fun side is appealing.''
Mets fans seem moved. The process isn't over yet, though. In fact, it's just beginning.
The interviews will start this week, and there is reason to believe that the Mets will seriously consider the younger guys, too. After all, three of the four candidates coming in fit into that younger group -- though the more experienced
Got to give the Mets this: Their list is superb, though the top group apparently doesn't include any of the available qualified minorities. Dodgers assistant GM
While the four men about to be interviewed or
For today though, the leading contenders appear to be Alderson, Hahn, Byrnes and Baird.
• The current belief among baseball people seems to be that
• Pitching coach
• The loss of
• One scout said he thinks that
• Several competitors chastised me for not including A's exec
• A person familiar with the Dodgers' situation predicted a "blood bath'' only a couple days before well-regarded president
• As for
• Fans want replay expanded more than those in the game, it seems. Players union chief