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Yankees' Manager Joe Girardi Facing Barrage Of Criticism

Joe Girardi does not have a contract to manage the New York Yankees next season. General manager Brian Cashman says he “absolutely” wants Girardi back in the Yankee dugout in 2011.

“I would think that would be the first order of business, but I haven’t talked to our owners yet,” Cashman said. “Once I get a chance to talk to them, we’ll set up a time frame and schedule and go from there.”

I would think there is no other logical conclusion than for the Yankees to bring Girardi back next season. There really is no one else in line, and no really attractive big-name available. Lou Piniella? Please.

Today, though, Girardi is facing a barrage of criticism for his ALCS decision-making — especially his handling of the pitching staff.

From John Harper of the Daily News:

You have to say the manager had about the same type of series as his hitters. I mean, do you really want your season going down in flames with David Robertson on the mound? …

Hey, it’s not like Girardi deserves to lose his job here. He’s a solid manager who has proven he can take a team, ultra-talented as it may be, to the top. But he appeared awfully tight when the Yankees struggled in September, and that seems to be an ongoing issue.

Perhaps most importantly, though, he needs to trust his feel for his players more and not rely so heavily on numbers. It’s one thing to use matchup numbers as a guide, but it’s another to let them dictate every move you make.

That seemed to be the case here in October, starting with the reshuffling of his starting rotation for this series because the numbers said Phil Hughes was a better choice for Game 2 than Andy Pettitte – when the Yankees desperately needed Pettitte’s postseason toughness to give them a 2-0 lead before Lee could put his imprint on the series.

Then in Game 4, Girardi got greedy with A.J. Burnett, leaving him in just long enough to make the kind of mistake pitch – for Bengie Molina’s three-run home run – that was part of Burnett’s pitching DNA all season.

Again he cited numbers for intentionally walking David Murphy ahead of Molina when Girardi’s managerial antennae should have told him that multiple runners on base had brought out the worst in Burnett for two seasons as a Yankee.

And finally, Friday night he either panicked or didn’t understand the urgency of the moment. He was too quick to pull Hughes in the fifth, as the righty had only given up an infield single and an intentional walk in that inning before Vlad Guerrero’s tie-breaking double.

At that point, with two outs in the fifth, Hughes had thrown 83 pitches, and while he wasn’t breezing along, he didn’t look to be in danger of imploding. And if Girardi sensed the need to do something to turn the tide right there to save the season, he had to go to someone besides Robertson.

From Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

the real goat horns were reserved for the manager, and they were a perfect fit.

Girardi, who is without a contract, is a good and dedicated manager who deserves a chance to return. After all, a year ago, he won a World Series with essentially this same team.

But this year he helped lose an ALCS. In the end, the manager who lived by his binders all season died by them, too.

Girardi will be managing the Yankees next season, probably with a multi-year contract in his back pocket. Cashman, and Yankee fans, had better hope that Girardi loosens up a little and learns that the answers are not always in his binders.