Gamesmanship is always fun. When it happens between the Yankees and the Red Sox, it can get downright giddy.
Last night, Josh Beckett gave Boston his latest in a string of terrible starts. When Robinson Cano smoked a two-run double to make the score 5-0 in the fifth, Beckett was removed. The reason: tightness in his back.
This was important, because had Beckett been pulled for reasons of ineffectiveness, reliever Manny Delcarmen would have had to come into the game cold. Following an injury, however, relievers are afforded all the warm-up time they need.
Was the injury real? To be fair, Beckett missed his previous start because of back spasms, and it was a cold, wet night in New York. Still, say skeptics, he did not appear to be injured before that point, and himself said later that the injury wasn’t serious.
On one hand, it could be gamesmanship by the Red Sox, using the system to their advantage.
On the other hand, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did what he had to do, playing the game under protest following the umpire’s decision to allow Delcarmen unlimited warm-up tosses.
“To me, he shouldn’t get all his pitches there,” Girardi said in an ESPN.com report. “In my eyes it was not done in the right way. Anytime a guy is in trouble, you signal to the bullpen and say, ‘Oh, he’s hurt.’ That’s a huge advantage.”
It’s all covered under the Code. Get away with whatever you can.
Update (May 20): Either the Red Sox are heavy into subterfuge, or Beckett was legitimately injured.
Update (May 21): New York’s protest was denied.