Alex Rodriguez critical of New York Yankees' Game 2 pitching decision: 'It was a mistake'
The New York Yankees are one loss away from elimination after the Tampa Bay Rays trounced them Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five ALDS.
New York took the opening game of the series between the AL East rivals behind a strong start from ace Gerrit Cole. But in Game 2, rather than pitching Masahiro Tanaka on normal rest, the Yankees opened with 21-year-old righty Deivi Garcia, who pitched one inning and allowed a home run to the red-hot Randy Arozarena before giving way to J.A. Happ. The veteran southpaw surrendered two homers, four earned runs and walked three over 2 2/3 innings.
The Rays tattooed Happ and haven't looked back since, also beating up on Tanaka (five earned runs in four innings) and the Yankees bullpen the next night. Jordan Montgomery (5.11 ERA, 3.87 FIP in 10 starts this season; zero career postseason appearances) will start Game 4 for New York to keep its season alive — a situation Alex Rodriguez believes his former team shouldn't be facing.
FALLING TV RATINGS ACROSS MOST SPORTS?:Here are four reasons to explain drop during pandemic
"To me, the Yankee roster has to bail out (general manager) Brian Cashman and the front office," he said on the Fox Sports postgame show. "They've done some wonderful things. Game 2 was a mistake, and it was a mistake for about 20 different reasons."
Over the last few seasons, Tampa Bay has offset its lack of a traditional five-man rotation by piecing games together with a plethora of bullpen arms. In this series, the Yankees' copycat approach has backfired.
In the wild card series against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees won the best-of-three behind starts from Cole and Tanaka.
"You start spending so much time trying to out smart the Ivy Leaguers over there, that's not your game," Rodriguez "Don't play 'Jeopardy.' Play baseball."
While many fans may be quick to criticize Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Rodriguez noted those decisions are often made in concert with the analytics staff and front office personnel — if not an edict from above.
"Players win championships. We used to say, 'If the manager could stay out of the game, that would be great,'" Rodriguez said. "Now, we have to say front offices have to stay out of the game. Frustrating."
Rodriguez began his rant by calling the Yankees the "most successful franchise in sports" and noted their MLB-leading payroll.
"You've done it as an alpha. You did it the old-fashioned way," he said. "You get to Game 1, you did it the old-fashioned way. Great starting pitching, and then you get nine outs from the bullpen. And then you get to Game 2 and now the front office wants to get involved. Then you start getting gimmicky."
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.