It’s not my intent to mercilessly rip Joe Girardi here. I think he does a good job overall, especially when you realize how many critics he has and how much scrutiny he’s under. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t find, oh, I dunno, teachable moments in his managerial decisions.
Down by two in the ninth inning, A’s closer Andrew Bailey gave up a homer to Jorge Posada. It’s written on ancient scrolls that if you give up a homer to Jorge Posada, you don’t have your best stuff. Russell Martin and Brett Gardner then reached, putting runners on first and second, the Yankees down by two. Derek Jeter then comes up. The same Derek Jeter who has been hot of late and who had reached base four times in this game alone already. This is a recipe for a big honking inning.
Except Joe Girardi had him lay down a bunt. And the Yankees only scored one more time, leaving the bases juiced in their one-run loss. If only they had one more out to give. In fact, let’s go to Pinstriped Bible’s Steven Goldman who can tell us exactly what the odds were of scoring two runs if the Yankees had that one more out to give:
[T]eams that have put runners on first and second with no outs have scored an average of 1.4 runs … Teams that have runners on second and third with one out see their expected runs go down to 1.3 … I leave it to you whether eliminating the double play was worth trading that fraction of a run as well as the possibility of having three chances to score those two runs instead of two.
Joe Girardi gets mocked by writers for using his famous binder which sets forth this strategy and that strategy for him. In this case, however, he should be mocked for not using his binder. Or at least for having a binder that didn’t have all of the information he needed in that situation to make the right decision.