That doesn't mean anyone, especially the large contingent of New York fans and media, are going to stop wondering, asking, probing to see what was going through the Yankee manager's mind in a 5-4 loss to the Angels.
Girardi pulled a lot of levers -- more than anyone this side of Tony La Russa normally does -- as the Angels and Yankees battled into extra innings.
Game 3: Angels 5, Yankees 4 (11) | Box Score | Series Home
Fletcher: Rocky Road From June Low to October High for Kendrick
• Girardi used seven relievers after starter Andy Pettitte departed the game in the seventh inning. Not one of them got more than five outs, and when the game ended Chad Gaudin was the only pitcher in the bullpen.
• He also used 12 of his 14 position players, with only Jose Molina -- all but unavailable as the backup catcher -- and Freddy Guzman -- almost exclusively on the bench as a pinch-runner -- left over.
• He lost the designated hitter in the 10th inning when, in a bases-loaded, one-out jam, he pulled left fielder Johnny Damon and shifted designated hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. (who came in for pinch-runner Brett Gardner, who replaced regular DH Hideki Matsui) to the outfield to get a better throwing arm than Damon's out there. As a consequence, he also had to pull all-world closer Mariano Rivera after just one inning -- the 10th -- because he was due up third in the next half-inning.
Hairston Jr., by the way, did not have to make a throw, and his arm, while better than Damon's, is not a game-changer and probably wouldn't have made much of a difference.
• Finally, and perhaps most puzzling of all, Girardi replaced David Robertson with Alfredo Aceves in the 11th after Robertston recorded two outs without allowing a hit. Robertson, a right-hander, was pitching well and Howie Kendrick, the batter due up first, is not much of a home run threat, though he did go deep earlier in the game. Aceves, also a right-hander, promptly lost the game. With just one pitcher left other than CC Sabathia, his Game 4 starter, and A.J. Burnett, his Game 2 starter, Girardi got very cute, replacing a righty with a righty.
So, like, what was up with that Joe?
"As far as Robertson, we like the matchup with Ace better, the two guys. And it didn't work," said Girardi of his decision to put Aceves in after Robertson faced just two hitters. "It's just different kind of stuff against those hitters. And we have all the matchups, and all the scouting reports, and we felt that, you know, it was a better matchup for us."
What those scouting reports are remain a mystery, not that anyone should expect Girardi to divulge the full thought process behind the way he managed.
Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland added little to Girardi's cryptic comments.
"We just liked the matchup better, and Ace had [Howie] where he wanted to, he just couldn't make the pitch to put him away. And still, it was a five-hopper up the middle or a 10-hopper up the middle, but he just wasn't able to make that one pitch to put him away."At least the decision to lose the DH, and subsequently limit Rivera to only an inning, made a little more sense after the game.
"We thought we had [Mariano] for an inning. I didn't feel that I could stretch him out any further than that in that situation because of what we did the other day with him," he said, referring to Rivera's 2 1/3-inning outing in Game 2. "So he had that inning, and that was it."
Girardi said that he would have considered stretching Rivera further had the Yankees been able to take the lead in the top of the 11th.
This is Girardi's first trip to the postseason as a manager, and, for better or worse, he seems determined to put his stamp on every game. In the Yankees' six playoff games this year, he's made 29 pitching changes and gotten 22 innings of work out of his bullpen.
He certainly made an impression on his opponents.
"It was like spring training. I felt like we were in spring training. Joe pulled all the tricks out today," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "That lets you know how much they wanted it. Never gave up. Even though they're up 2-0 [in the series] they tried to pull every trick in the book today. I commend them on that."