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?