Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Trails, Brayan Pena

Yesterday, the Royals DFA'd Brayan Pena. Does that name sound familiar? I alluded to the situation in a recent post, but just in case you didn't click through...

Going for the sweep in Kansas City on April 12th the Yankees held their first close, late lead of the season. It was 4-3 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, and Joe Girardi called on Damaso Marte, who quickly retired lefties Mark Teahen and David DeJesus on two fly balls. When the Yankees signed Marte to a $12M/3 year extension this offseason, I'm guessing they thought of him as more than just a lefty specialist. But instead of leaving Marte in to face righty Billy Butler, Girardi went to the 'pen for Jose Veras, who had pitched 3 out of the last four games, and proceeded to walk Butler on 5 pitches.

Sitting in the on-deck circle was the legendary Brayan Pena, with 75 Major League games spread out over 5 years under his belt, 2 career HRs and a .254 OBP. So Girardi brought in lefty Phil Coke, who promptly allowed a double, single, and a double, resulting in the three runs that won the game for Kansas City. Oh yeah, and Pena's a fucking switch hitter.

Remember now?

Baseball is a cruel game. One day Joe Girardi is bringing in a pitcher specifically to face you, and two weeks later you get sent to the minors.

It's amazing how a bullpen can go from being quite effective last year to extremely sporadic this season without any significant changes to the cast of characters. I think at least some of the blame belongs to Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland who have been getting awfully cute with their match-up decisions. I don't want to nitpick every managerial move, but in general, I'm not in favor of bringing in the third pitcher of the inning to face a switch hitter with a .582 career OPS.

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