Should Girardi be fired if Yanks blow it?

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I hate off-days during the playoffs.
It’s mind-numbingly boring. It makes the mind wander. It makes
otherwise rational people, like Jesse Spector of the Daily News,
write articles like this:

The Yankees will come home Saturday still leading the ALCS, 3-2, still one win away
from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2003, still
with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia lined up to pitch them there.

But let’s get this out of the way now, so it’s not a reactionary
thing if the Yankees lose their sixth and seventh consecutive games
with the American League pennant within their grasp: So this is not to say that the Yankees will lose this ALCS, but if they do, Joe Girardi should be fired.

It’s harsh, yes, and it’s not easy to fire a manager coming off a
103-win season, but the burden of a collapse in this series would fall
squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are
indefensible.

Woah, now. I’m all for
accountability, but this is pretty unfair. Nevermind the circumstances
of these hypothetical losses to come. What if Andy Pettitte and CC
Sabathia both lay an egg? That wouldn’t that be their responsibility?
Should Girardi pay for letting A.J. Burnett come out in the seventh in
Game 5 when he had every reason to believe that he was still fresh? His
decision wasn’t “indefensible,” as Spector claims. It was logical.
Consider the alternatives, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who have
been anything but a sure thing during the postseason.




Granted, Girardi has had his moments
of over-managing during this series. I won’t recap them all here, but I’ll never understand why he
pulled Alex Rodriguez for pinch-runner Freddy Guzman in the ninth
inning of Game 5. No explanation can suffice. However, these are small
potatoes compared to what Mike Scioscia got away with by pulling ace
John Lackey with two outs in the seventh of Game 5. Scioscia got lucky.
Girardi didn’t.




Of course, this will all be moot if
the Yankees take one of these next two games, which I fully expect, but
if they manage to blow this thing, his job status
should be a “reactionary thing,” not a hypothetical.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Did you know J.A. Happ is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award race? Of all the contenders, he may be the biggest surprise, even ahead of Drew Pomeranz. Happ leads the league with 17 wins and only has three losses to go with it. He’s holding a 3.05 ERA and a 133/44 K/BB ratio in 150 1/3 innings.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Happ was struggling to stay in a starting rotation. In 2011, his first full season with the Astros, he finished with a 5.35 ERA. In 2012, he put up a 4.79 ERA with the ‘stros and Blue Jays. The next year? 4.56 followed by 4.22, both with the Jays. Then, with the Mariners, he continued the mediocrity with a 4.64 ERA before he was traded to the Pirates.

Under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Happ turned his career around. In 11 starts in Pittsburgh, the lefty had a microscopic 1.85 ERA. That came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. Even the ERA retrodictors like FIP and xFIP, which had so often agreed with his uninspiring ERA’s, agreed that he had thrown like an elite hurler. So that’s how we arrived at J.A. Happ, Cy Young Award contender.

Among AL starters, Happ is fifth-best in ERA behind Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Aaron Sanchez, and Steven Wright. However, his 17-3 record is equaled only by Rick Porcello. As there are still a significant number of voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America who consider won-lost record, Happ is sitting in a good position and will be even better if he can cross the coveted 20-win threshold. He’ll get a bit of a boost as well if he can help the Jays return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.

Happ’s Jays will host the hapless — and Happ-less — Angels on Thursday evening. He’ll take on veteran Jered Weaver in a 7:07 PM EDT start.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 7:15 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT

Let’s play the “how long has it been since the Cubs won the World Series?” game!

1908 Cubs
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It started with a no-good St. Louis Cardinals fan being a troublemaker. That no-good Cardinals fan was Drew Silva, who began things innocently enough, noting that, despite their dominance this season, any team can theoretically beat the Chicago Cubs in a short series because that’s just how baseball goes:

Cubs fans started giving him guff for that, so Drew gave some back:

And with that it was on like Donkey Kong (a super old video game which was not invented for another 73 years after the Cubs last won the World Series). I tweeted this:

And with that, my followers went crazy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones:

And, for that matter . . .

Too soon. Unlike the last Cubs World Series title.

Like I said, this was just a sampling. I’ve retweeted a ton more on my timeline and those I didn’t retweet can be seen in the replies here. My favorite one may have been “literally the invention of sliced bread,” which debuted in 1912, but I can’t find that tweet.

Please, Cubs fans, have a sense of humor about this. You have a wonderful ballpark that is not named after a third tier mortgage company, a grand history that is fantastic even if it hasn’t featured any championships and a future that is as bright or brighter than any other team out there. Maybe even come up with some of your own in the comments! History is fun! As is self-deprecation! What I’m saying is don’t be salty about this sort of thing. Salty is a bad look.

In other news, the Morton Salt Company was incorporated in 1910, two years after the Cubs last World Series victory.