Smart Skipper

The Yankees have just tied the World Series at 1-1, and they
did so in large part because of three decisions that Joe Girardi made in the last 24
hours.

Girardi’s decision to start Jose Molina instead of Jorge
Posada could not have been an easy one.

Clearly, the choice was made in an effort to provide A.J.
Burnett with the backstop he’s worked best with this season.

While I firmly believe the Yankees would not have made it
this far without Posada’s leadership behind the plate and batting prowess,
Girardi made the right call. The proof was in Burnett’s numbers (7 IP, 1ER,
9K). And to further illustrate just how comfortable and confident Burnett was
tonight, the righty threw first pitch strikes to first 11 batters he faced.

Burnett was the most important person on the field tonight,
and he more than paved the way to the Yankees 3-1 win.

Girardi also replaced Nick Swisher in right field with Jerry
Hairston. Hairston led off the seventh with a single, and was replaced by pinch
runner Brett Gardner, who scored the game’s crucial third run.

Lastly, Girardi gave the ball to Mariano Rivera for two
innings. The skipper skipped over his middle relievers in what was a close
game. Rivera came into the game well rested and it showed. He did not allow a
run over the final two innings of the game.

This Series is deadlocked, and it’s time to invade
Philadelphia.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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