Let's leave aside for the moment that Joe Girardi and the Yankees brain trust elected to include the incompetent A.J. Burnett on the post-season roster and that now Burnett is in a position to decide the Yankees season.
(What's that? You can't leave that aside? It's consuming you? It's created a fire of rage within you that can't be extinguished? Huh.)
Steven Goldman at Pinstriped Bible calls Girardi's playoffs manifestation "Coffee Joe" because the Yankees' manager gets hyper in the post-season and overthinks the game. And Coffee Joe was at his caffeinated worst yesterday in guiding the Yankees to a 5-3 defeat to Detroit at home.
First, down 4-0 in the 7th inning with two on and one out, Girardi pinch hit Eric Chavez for Brett Gardner -- a move he never made all season and would never make in any regular season. Chavez, who has shown almost no power this season (80:1 AB/HR ratio), predictably struck out. Girardi's explanation? "Just hoping he might pop one." Uh huh.
Then, in the 9th inning, down 4-1, Girardi elected to send his single worst non-Burnett pitcher to the mound. Again predictably, Luis Ayala yielded a run and the Yankees batted in the 9th down 5-1. When they inevitably rallied, that extra run really didn't help. Neither did Andruw Jones batting against a right-hander instead of Gardner.
Why, why, why pitch Ayala? It's indefensible. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano hadn't pitched since Tuesday? Was a 4-1 deficit so insurmountable (with one of the game's best offenses) that Girardi felt the need to throw up the white flag? When three losses will end your season, maybe you shouldn't give one away so easily.
Can't wait to see what Coffee Joe does tonight.