Who's More Touchy, Tony La Russa Or Joe Girardi?

You decide.

Here's Joe Girardi, discussing his decision to use Rafael Soriano in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Twins (via ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews):

"Because he's my eighth-inning guy," he snapped. "Could I have gotten someone up? Yeah, and then if a guy gets on or a couple guys get on, and I have to get Soriano up, then I'm asked the question, 'Why didn't you just have him to start the inning?' That's the life of the manager. You learn to accept it and you have to handle it. But I did it because I knew what he was going to be up against."

--snip--

"A four-run lead is not a big lead in this division, in this ballpark," he said, as if Yankee Stadium had suddenly become Coors Field and the Twins the 1927 Yankees. "He's my eighth-inning guy. It's not a 9-0 game, it's not a 12-0 game, it's a 4-0 game where you know that you're going to see [Justin] Morneau, you know that you're going to see Jim Thome. You're going to see their big guns. That's why I chose to go to him.

"If we get through the eighth without giving up a run, then I don't have to get up my 41-year-old closer who, I think, is quite important to us in the course of the year."

Well, OK. I don't really buy into the rigid concept of "the eighth-inning" guy, but in fairness to Girardi your eighth-inning guy -- or your seventh-inning guy, or your sixth-inning guy -- will, almost every time, somehow manage to avoid blowing a four-run lead. It just didn't happen this time. And every time it doesn't happen, the manager is going to be asked some uncomfortable questions.

Then there's Tony La Russa, whose Cardinals haven't scored more than three runs in any of their six games. As you might guess, La Russa was asked about his club's hitting

"For everybody listening out there, do you think I am being unreasonable?" La Russa said. "It's the first week of the season. I mean I don't understand this. You are going to tell me that Yadier doesn't drive in big runs? You going to tell me Albert can't hit? You going to tell me the second baseman and shortstop haven't hit?

"David Freese, you don't think he's going to hit? You think Matt is going to hit? You think Colby is going to hit? You think Berkman is going to hit? The answer is no to all those things? I mean did you accomplish your goal? Three or four times you ask so I get excited and get upset. I mean that's not fair. It really isn't."

La Russa then walked out of the room, putting an abrupt end to his postgame press conference.

Again, it's really hard to blame La Russa for being a little frustrated by the questions. He knows his guys can hit -- some of them, anyway -- and he knows it's foolish to draw any overarching conclusions after only six games. He knows if his hitters do exactly the same thing in June or July, hardly anyone will notice. But everything is amplified at the beginning of the season, and the end. Which La Russa should also know, considering that he's been managing in the majors for a thousand years.

Managers would be thrilled if they didn't have to answer inane questions after every tough loss. I would be a little thrilled for them, because inanity doesn't do much to make the world a better place.

Then again, without inane questions we wouldn't have this delightfulness. And then where would we be?

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