Girardi making it hard to trust his judgment

Let’s run down the problems with the scenario. First of all, bunting a runner to second with no outs decreases your likelihood of scoring a run in a vacuum. That’s not to say that means it’s always a bad decision, but you also had a pretty good hitter on the bench in Posada, and a good base stealer in Gardner on first (in the hypotehtical, that is). That means there’s actual options. You can have Posada pinch hit, or you can have Gardner attempt to steal second. The latter would be the best course of action, as you could then set Posada up to drive in the tying run, or even to have Nunez bunt him to third with one out, which would increase the team’s chances of scoring the run. Bunt having Nunez bunt Gardner to 2nd, with Derek Jeter on deck no less, is basically the worst possible thing you could have done.

Of course, that’s not the way it played out last night, and the Yankees won, so I assume there’s going to be a lot of “no harm no foul” sentiment. But stepping back and looking at the bigger picture for a moment, this is another damning indictment of Joe Girardi’s decision making process this year, and that worries me. For all the hoopla over Girardi’s binder and fondness for numbers, he’s suddenly managing a lot like a crusty old National League guy. Or Dusty Baker (ok, maybe not that bad.) It feels a little silly to suggest it, but I really hope the media narrative about the binder and the Yankees aversion to playing small ball hasn’t gotten to Girardi. Joe’s a professional, so I assume he’s got the ability to ignore all of the nonsense, but at this point I don’t really have a better explanation for what seems like a really sudden shift in the manager. Do you?

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

23 thoughts on “Girardi making it hard to trust his judgment

  1. but what to do? Sadly, a number of them also have a very hard time HITTING.

  2. After I heard this, I was so glad Gardy got out. If Nunez had bunted him over, I seriously would have put my bat through the TV and then thrown it off the balcony out in the hailstorm that was going on outside. Ugh. It won't be so bad if Joe manages them down to the wild card when they could have [possibly] won the division. But heaven forbid he manages them out of the wild card…

  3. The only one I want bunting is Tex down the 3rd base line for an easy single every now and then, especially when the Yans are down a bunch of runs and need baserunners.

  4. My rational guide says that bunting with a man on first and none out is generally the wrong move and requires justification. One justification is when the guy at the plate is your number 9 hitter. The AL charts say that with a man on first, none out and the number 9 hitter at the plate, the team's chances of scoring are at 42.3%. But with a runner on second, one out and the number 1 hitter at the plate, the team's chances of scoring are at 43.6%. Not much of a difference, I'll admit, but it at least makes the sacrifice a strategy to consider at that point.

    The ACTUAL AL success of bunts in this situation is a little better: with a runner on first, none out and the number 9 hitter at the plate, the bunt attempt raises the chance of scoring 1 run from 42.3% to 44.0%. If the sacrifice succeeds, the chances increase a little bit more, to 45.4%. So again, this remains a strategy worth considering.

    The factors working against the strategy include those mentioned by Brien: Nunez may not be much of a bunter, the defense would have expected the bunt, Jeter (the hitter following Nunez) was struggling all night, a Gardner steal of second would raise the chances of scoring a run to something like 66%, there's the hit-and-run to consider, Nunez's speed makes his hitting into a double play less likely (he's yet to hit into one this year), etc. The only factor I see in favor of a bunt is that Gardner's speed increases the chance that the sacrifice would have succeeded. So considering all of the factors, I agree with Brien, but I would not have condemned a bunt decision with his vehemence.

  5. Another day, another IIATMS post whining about Girardi bunting. This time, Girardi didn't even call for a bunt, he postulated that he might bunt in a hypothetical situation that never happened.

    OK, we get it. You guys think that the numbers dictate that Girardi should not be bunting in a number of situations where he actually bunts (or even thinks about it). Can you just note these as GPBDs (Girardi Poor Bunting Decisions) and dedicate your considerable writing talents to more enlightening or entertaining topics?