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.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.