Girardi defends non-stolen base attempt

2009 Draft: Scheppers may need shoulder surgery
Edes: Yanks scouting Pedro

First Pitch Update (3:15 p.m.): The Yankees have announced first pitch tentatively schedule for 4:05 p.m. We’ll bump the game thread back up once it’s clear this one is set to start. For now, though, please keep comments to this post on topic.

First Pitch Update Update (3:55 p.m.): The Yankees have just announced that “another round of showers is in the forecast. The start time for today’s game has been pushed back. First pitch time is TBA.” They should probably just pull the plug on this one.


As the Yankees and Nationals wait for a storm to clear that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere yet, the Yanks’ manager has shed some light on one of his decisions from last night’s 9th inning. While speaking with the beat writers prior to the rain delay, he talked about the first-and-third situation with one out and why A-Rod did not attempt a steal of second.

I was watching the game from the Grandstand, and everyone sitting around me was wondering the same thing. After the game, Joe and I had a discussion about it, and as he wrote in the recap, we would have attempted to steal. Why didn’t Joe Girardi then? Well, here’s what the Yanks’ skipper had to say:

“We had talked about it. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. You figure he can hit into a line drive and you get doubled up. Then you have Cano and Posada, two pretty good RBI guys, and you lose the chance for Posada to hit. Even though Robbie’s not a huge pull hitter, you close that hole up if he steals, and then they play the infield in. There’s a lot of different things that you have. Al is physically probably not running as well as he was last year, but he’s fairly close. If we got a 3-2 situation, am I saying that I’d hold him up? I’m not saying that. But we talk about it. MacDougal is quicker than he used to be to home plate. There’s a lot of factors that went into it.”

According to Marc Carig, Girardi was also concerned that the Nats might walk Cano intentionally or throw out A-Rod. So there are some valid reasons in there and some terribly convenient excuses.

The valid reason is Mike MacDougal. He was throwing 97 and was quicker to the plate. The Yankees’ coaches weren’t sure A-Rod, with just two stolen base attempts all season, would make it against a pitcher quicker than they expected. Fine. I buy that.

But at the same time, not making it to second is just part of the stolen base attempt. Maybe if A-Rod goes, the Nationals don’t even throw through because Brett Gardner can fly home off of third. Maybe anyone who attempts to steal a base gets thrown out. That really can’t can’t enter into the equation unless the runner has no chance.

I also don’t see what the double-edged sword is. Maybe Cano hits a line drive double play with A-Rod going, but that wouldn’t be any worse than what happened to end the game. Maybe the Nats intentionally walk Cano, but then the Yanks have bases loaded with one out and Jorge Posada at the plate. Who could complain about that?

In the end, I still come out where I came out last night: Joe Girardi should have at least attempted a steal with Alex Rodriguez on first base. We’re definitely second-guessing a tough decision, but Girardi’s excuses for it don’t really fly.

And with that, I’m done obsessing over last night’s game. I was at the stadium, and it was a tough loss to take. The fans were doing all they could to will that third run across the plate, and the energy went out of the park like a popped balloon when Cano grounded into that double play. We’ll get ’em the next time once this rain lightens up.

2009 Draft: Scheppers may need shoulder surgery
Edes: Yanks scouting Pedro
  • Mike R. – Retire 21

    One thing that Girardi didn’t mention but i think should factor in the decision is the fact that if A-Rod gets caught stealing you can’t drive in the run on an out. If A-Rod got caught stealing and Robbie proceeded to fly out to right or deep left I would probably have been pretty pissed.

    • John

      exactly me too

    • pat

      If Arod gets caught stealing it takes an incredible, incredible play to throw Gardner out at home.

      • pat

        Presumably of course.

  • Mike Axisa

    Look at the scenarios:

    1. A-Rod goes, is safe, they walk Cano and you have a major GIDP candidate in Posada up

    2. A-Rod goes and is out, and he gets booed

    Cano was 8 for his last 11 with 3 doubles and 2 homers coming into that at-bat, let him swing.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      That major double play candidate has hit into 3 DPs in 37 ABs with a runner on first while Cano has hit into 8 in 83 ABs. Neither is really that more of a DP threat than the other, and Posada is OPSing .918. I’d be more than fine with him coming to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.

      • John

        But cano was really hot and a flyball was all that was needed but unfortunately he hit a hard groundball for a DP

    • Mike HC

      You also have to add in the fact that a walk or HBP would tie the game as well if Jorge was up. MacDougal does not have great control. The pressure would be on and Jorge has a great eye. It would open up another possibility for the tie.

      • onemorethought

        we could also score with a passed ball either way

  • Bo

    How many more bad decisions will it take for everyone to come around that Girardi is a bad manager? He’s still hanging his hat on the fact that he ran a good bullpen last year. The Yankee job isn’t a learn on the job kind of job.

    • John

      a lot of bad luck for Girardi too (though he has made several dumb decisions)

      • Val

        Every team has injuries. Ask Manuel.

        • John

          WTF? Im not talking about injuries. I’m talking about thegood moves Girardi (like bringing in Mo for tied games) made backfiring a lot and all moves just backfiring, with all the heat going to him. Had A-rod been caught, many would be saying that he’s not completely healthy and that was a dumb move. Had Robbie hit a flyball, we would not have been talking about this. It just happened that he grounded into a DP.

    • Joe

      I have no problem with Girardi not sending ARod. He has only 2 SB attempts in 38 games this year (with a .380 OBP) which tells me that he clearly isn’t running as well as he has in previous years, due to his hip surgery. This is the textbook “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario for Girardi. If Cano does anything other than hit into that double play, we aren’t questioning Girardi because it was not a conclusive call one way or the other.

      I have much more of an issue with Cano, who is one of the most overrated and impatient hitters in the game. 13 walks in 266 ABs is pathetic.

  • Tubby

    The Yanks were 2 for 26 in the first 8 innings. The game was lost long before A-Rod’s non-steal.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Actually, the game was lost after A-Rod’s non-steal once Cano hit into a DP. They had the winning run on first base. Game’s not lost in my book.

      • Tubby

        You’re correct. They did not officially lose until the 27th out was recorded. My mistake.

        • onemorethought

          i understood what you were getting at Tubby

          • Val

            Tubbys right. The fact that sandy Koufax lannan shut them down is a joke

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

              Well, then the Mets and Reds are a joke, too.

              His last two starts (before last night):

              June 6 v. Mets 9 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 W 2 K
              June 11 v. Reds 6 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 W 2 K

              Guy has been on fire.

              Plus, on the season, he has a 1.336 WHIP, a 3.38 ERA and a 129 ERA+.

              Just because you may not know about the guy, or just because he plays on a bad team, doesn’t mean the Yanks should automatically destroy him.

  • Mike HC

    I think this situation is similar to the sac squeeze argument. A-Rod has really not been asked to run that much this year. He has probably not really been working on that part of his game as much as usual. He is coming off hip surgery and who knows if A-Rod is really 100%. Telling A-Rod to steal there would really be putting him in a position to fail in my opinion. There is no way he would have been completely comfortable in that situation, at this point in the season. Gotta let Cano hit, with Jorge on deck.

    • CapitalT

      I also do not think the Yankees are telling the whole truth about how healthy A-rod is. He looks slow at 3b

  • MattG

    Average runner on third base, I have to believe that the percentage move is no stolen base attempt.

    Gardner on 3rd makes it a little more interesting, but only by the slightest margin. I still have to believe the percentage move is to stay pat.

    MacDougal walks a lot of batters. Even if Rodriguez is safe, the likelihood of Cano walking is pretty good.

    Then, Cano is 0-2, and you have the pitch-out to worry about. At 0-2, and 1-2, you can’t try it. No way.

    Then, at 2-2, your one ball from a 3-2 count, where you can safely send Rodriguez. Now you are in a place where only the next pitch can result in a double play. I’m thinking it makes sense to stay put there, too.

    Also, at 2-2, MacDougal was throwing nothing but 95-97 MPH fastballs up and away. This is a good pitch to throw.

    I am thinking this all the way through, and I do not see a good spot for Rodriguez to run there. Girardi did the right thing.

    • Jake K.

      Not sure if the likelihood of walking Cano is pretty good. Not because MacDougal was throwing strikes, but because Cano was swinging at and fouling off everything out of the zone.

    • Ant

      Agreed 100%

    • Kyle

      Cano walks 5% of the time (281 PA’s only 13 walks)…I find it very hard to believe the “likelihood of Cano walking” to be pretty good

  • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

    I was there last night, and with each pitch, I kept saying, “Why isn’t A Rod running?” It’s not really a straight steal. It’s a hit and run. Robbie doesn’t look at a lot of pitches, and he doesn’t strike out a lot, so you’re not really putting too much extra pressure on him with a hit and run.

    Also, just like how Harris (it was Harris, right?) took third on Guzman’s grounder to A Rod, running after A Rod threw to first, Gardner could have taken home once Bard’s throw cleared McDougal. Because of that, if A Rod ran and Cano swung and missed, I’d bet anything Bard would do the fake-to-second, look-to-third move. No way they risk throwing through. And if he did, there is no way they have time to tag out A Rod and get the ball home in time to get Gardner.

    It seems to me that you can list all the things that could have conceivably happened. But if you look at what was likely to have happened based on the situation, to me, there was no downside to a hit-and-run (save a line drive DP).

    I’m not saying Girardi is a bad manager (easy, Bo), I think for the most part he does a good job. But I think he made a mistake last night.

  • Jamal G.

    I wouldn’t of sent ARod there, it’s just too much of a risk when my only real gain is avoiding a DP (yes, I know the winning run would be in scoring position, but with Jorge up, I have no issue putting the game in his hand, or Matsui’s if the IBB is issued).

  • radnom

    But at the same time, not making it to second is just part of the stolen base attempt. Maybe if A-Rod goes, the Nationals don’t even throw through because Brett Gardner can fly home off of third. Maybe anyone who attempts to steal a base gets thrown out. That really can’t can’t enter into the equation unless the runner has no chance.

    I’m sorry, I’m not saying that calling for the steal he is the wrong move, but this paragraph is a load of nonsense.

    Saying you can’t let the chance someone won’t make it enter the equation unless that is a certainty is ridiculous. There is a huge difference between a 50% chance that someone will make it and a 90% chance, and that certainly affects whether or not you go in a specific situation.

  • Camron

    A-Rod can’t run right now. His hip is still so effed up that running in that situation is almost an automatic out at 2nd. The odds of Cano not hitting into a double play were a lot better than A-Rod making it to 2nd.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      A-Rod can’t run right now. His hip is still so effed up that running in that situation is almost an automatic out at 2nd.

      How do you know this? According to Girardi, A-Rod is nearly at 100 percent but not quite. That’s a very different assessment from yours.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        Ben is right. And even if you were right and A Rod is running poorly, in a hit-and-run, it’s not the guy on first’s job to steal second. It’s the batter’s job not to swing and miss. So the speed of the guy on first doesn’t matter.

        Also, if Gardner is faster than the time it takes to throw to second, tag the runner, and throw home, then it doesn’t matter if Jose Molina is on first lugging a piano. You hit and run.

        • troy

          The point of running is to:

          A) Stay out of the double play OR

          B) Get the ball past the pitcher heading to 2nd base

          Either way the score it tied (except LD)

          I’m guessing the chances of LD < chances of DP

          I thought the benefit of Girardi over Torre was he was going to be more agressive and move runners. Seems like he is a Mini-Torre with many of his tactical moves.

          • whozat

            Benefit of Girardi over Torre was that Girardi would give young players, especially in the pen, a chance to earn their stripes. As opposed to Torre, who develops favorites early based on flimsy evidence and then is loathe to change.

      • Ed

        I have no idea if Girardi is telling the truth or not, but, there is very little reason for him to tell the truth if A-Rod is in bad shape. Publicly admitting A-Rod can’t steal bases would give the other team a strategic advantage. Right now, whether he really is a base stealing threat or not, the other team is going to be on the lookout for a steal.

        • whozat

          I mean…ARod HAS succesfully stolen this season, and it’s not like he looked gimpy doing it.

          • Ed

            I’m not saying that A-Rod isn’t fine.

            Just that if for some reason he isn’t feeling ok, it’s not in Girardi’s best interest to admit it.

    • Cam

      I’m replying to you cause we have the same name. One thing that has to be looked at too is that Cano was under almost all of the sinkers that McDougal threw to him. The only one he got on top of was the last one, which happened to be his best. Cano was literally an 1/8th of an inch from tying the game like 5 times. Maybe if you get to 3-2 you send him, but Robbie was clearly having a good AB so you don’t want to take that chance of a fly ball scoring that run away from him.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        “… but Robbie was clearly having a good AB so you don’t want to take that chance of a fly ball scoring that run away from him.”

        Not sure I understand your point.

        Running isn’t taking anything away from Robbie. He swung at every pitch from 2-2 on, so it’s not like it would have been any different if A Rod was running.

        • Cam

          What I mean is that if you send A-Rod before 3-2 and he gets thrown out, no more chance of an out scoring the run. But at 3-2, the situation is different as you’re just trying to help stay out of the double play. Plus, I know that ball Robbie hit was hit hard, but did you see where A-Rod was when the ball was at 2nd? He was barely in the picture. I doubt he’s straight stealing a base off a kid thowing 97.

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            Yeah, but it wouldn’t be a straight steal for two reasons. First, with Gardner on third, it’s highly unlikely Bard throws through to second. Too much of a risk of Gardner scoring. Second, it would have been a hit-and-run, and in that case, it’s up to the batter to make contact (which Robbie does well).

  • Val

    Girardi is going to cost us a title

    • pat

      Thats an interesting way of looking at it.

      • Val

        U got faith in him? who has he outmanaged? He makes francona look like a genius. He made manny acta look competent. My guess is girardi is torre post 2000.

        • pat

          Girardi is a professional baseball manager, we’re fuckin blog commenters. The guy knows his players and knows the numbers. This decisoon was probably made with about 100 more factors involved than we can even think of.
          Again, we’re commenting on a blog, he’s a former manager of the year.
          Advantage: Girardi

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            I thought A Rod should have been going, and yet, I 100 percent agree with your comment!

            People who have it in for Girardi are just looking for something to be mad at. The guy has done fine.

        • John

          Yea Torre was such a good manager pre-2000, winning all of those WS Rings and then I guess he got hit by a bus and drastically changed his managing ways post-2000 forcing us to “only” make the playoffs the next 7 years and not win any WS.

    • whozat

      That is completely fucking ridiculous. If Girardi could cost us a title, then Wang already has with his epically terrible starts early on in the season.

      • Val

        If u don’t think Wang may have cost us a playoff berth u aren’t paying attention. Check the stats

        • John

          I know huh! Man, if only it was mid-June so we’d have time to make up 3 games for the division. The wierd thing is we’ve played so bad and we have a 1.5 game lead for the AL Wild Card yet we somehow did not make the playoffs…

    • Joe


  • Andrew


    Some of you people just love to hear yourselves talk. Were you demanding that ARod take second before or after Cano hit into the DP? My gut says the latter.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I sat in the Grandstand last night and said after each pitch, “Why isn’t A Rod going?”

  • http://Archimboldi Joe Robbins

    I really hate to bring up Mike Francesa. But Girardi did nothing wrong according to Francesa. Francesa says A-Rod shouldn’t have gone because then the Nats would immediately walk Cano to bring up Posada who is the most prime candidate for a DP in the majors. He said that, not me.
    I say send A-Rod and I’ll take my chances that Posada will at least put the ball in the air and tie the game.

    • Evan NYC


  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I’m sure all the players want this game to be called soon. I bet Alex wanted to be dancing to “Oye Como Va” with Kate Hudson by midnight in Miami.

  • stuart

    disagree totally on running arod. cano is the 5th hitter and should be able to hit a ball to the outfield.

    what is cano’s BA with RISP or late in a game, my perception is it is bad….no different then people say arod should have swung the bat last night and not taken a wlak, i say baloney.. Move the line, if they do not throw strikes take the walk.

    this could be resolved easily if Cano ever became a more disciplined hitter who got some big hits.

    btw swisher killed them last night.. K’d with runner on 2nd no outs and swung at the first pitch after the damon HR and flew out.. he is a guy hard to like, he k’s so much…

    • Evan NYC

      I’ll take his K’s as long as he puts up 30 dingers, which he will.

      • pat

        He also walks like crazy too.

        • Evan NYC

          That he does.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

          Yup. Trails only Tex on the Yanks in OBP.

  • stuart

    again girardi made zero mistakes last night for the series the yanks are like 3 for 16 with RISP. that is there problem…

    CAno always tries to be the hero and very infrequently is the hero…

    Arod is coming of surgery and is not 100% to run him there would be very risky….

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      What is the risk? They’re not throwing through in that situation. And Cano was swinging at every pitch (and made contact on every pitch once it reached 2-2). Nobody is talking about A Rod running to steal second with nobody else on base.

    • pat

      CAno always tries to be the hero and very infrequently is the hero…

      WTF are you talking about?

      • thurdonpaul

        lol, i was wondering the same thing, wtf are you talking about ?

  • Charlie

    I would have ran Arod probably, but there were many other reasons we lost the game yesterday

    • Evan NYC

      1. Pena catches the throw to 2B from Posada
      2. Umpire make the right call at 1B
      3. Melky doesn’t dive for the ball he clearly couldn’t catch
      4. Yankees hit with RISP

      All of these things happened before the Cano Situation.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        So, are you saying that based on 1-4 (all true, I agree), that the Yanks should have given up in the 9th? Obviously not. So it’s fair to discuss how the 9th was handled.

        • Evan NYC

          They clearly should not have given up. But we shouldn’t have been in the spot in the first place. We lost the game, hands down.

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            Fair point.

            They did run into a hot pitcher, though. Guy has given up 1 earned run in his last 23+ innings.

            • Evan NYC

              He pitched a gem.

            • Matt ACTY/BBD

              Impossible. He pitches for the Nationals, therefore he must suck.

              • IvanS

                My biggest frustration with this organization is still the lack of decent advanced scouting. How else do you explain the terrible pitch calling and the laughably-predictable struggles against pitchers they are not familiar with? Why does it take them 2-3 times through the lineup to get to someone like Lannan? Then I watch the Red Sox day after day practically knowing what these pitchers are going to throw pitch after pitch. We need better reports and/or better relay of information to the players. Something is amiss here.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        And, you know, John Lannan pitching a great game. Can we please give this dude some credit?

  • Charlie

    can we end this bull shit already? Game or no game, make a decision Yankees. I hate 3 and a half hour rain delays.

  • stuart

    pat what am I talking about…

    Cano’s BA with men on base and no men on base..

    Cano is not real clutch, look the #’s up. he does not believe in walks, he believes at swinging at almost every pitch.

    you been watching for 3.5 yrs… ?

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      There was a stat on the scoreboard last night that Cano is batting .365 from the 7th inning on.

      He is .349/.420/.535 in late and close situations.

      He is, though, only .244/.273/.390 with RISP.

      Look at the numbers. It’s more complicated than your black-and-white statement.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        .214/.250/.250 in High Leverage situations.

    • pat

      So what are you saying he’s unclutch and what? Cut? Demote? trade? Release?

  • stuart

    evan is right of course, if swisher gets the runner to 3rd, the 1B call is correct or the yanks get a hit with RISP they do not lose but the hitting with RISP is bad. the yanks have more opptys. then almost any team but hit near the bottom of the league with RISP, that is a problem….

  • Evan NYC

    Haha, listening to the FAN right now.

    Guy just called and said “Sterling kept saying he wasn’t sure why McDougal kept throwing over to 1B in the 9th with Teixiera on after his single. About 3 minutes later he realized it was Gardner, not Teixiera”.


  • Eric

    They should have sent A-Rod for a few reasons…

    1.) Even if he’s thrown out (if they even throw it), it gives Gardner a good chance to score on the throw to second.

    2.) Assuming they then walk Cano, Posada up with the bases loaded gives them a higher probability of winning than Cano up with 1st and 3rd. By sending A-Rod, not only are you avoiding a DP, but you’re putting the winning run in scoring position if they don’t throw.

    • Evan NYC

      So you are willing to take a chance on a double steal and take the bat out of the hands of one of the hottest hitters on the team? I don’t agree with that. Girardi made a good call, even if the result was not what we wanted. If Cano hits a double or even a fly ball there, everyone is singing a different tune and Girardi is a genius for not sending ARod. Cano got beat, let’s move on.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        See, I don’t think there was much of a chance of anyone getting thrown out. Gardner can fly. He had just stolen second and third. The percentages were very, very low that Bard throws to second if A Rod goes. And, more importantly, it would have been a hit-and-run, and, as we saw, Cano made contact every time he swung.

        I understand your point about Cano being one of our better hitters. I do. I just think the upside was greater in sending A Rod.

      • Eric

        There is a 0% chance of that double play.

  • Eric

    From FanGraphs

    “Clutch – How much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.”

    Cano has been one of the least clutch players in baseball since 2005.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Cano’s 2nd to last in “clutch” right now at (-1.47); Mike Lowell’s pulling up the rear at -1.68. Ryan Howard’s at the head of the class with a 1.18. Two Yankees (Johnny Damon’s 4th with a 1.04 and Melky’s 8th with a 0.93) are in the top ten.

  • Conan

    Thank God someone finally came up with the stats. I’ve been saying for 3+ years now that Robbie is the “greatest, no men on base” hitter I’ve ever seen.

    He disappears when the game is close or on the line.

  • Flowers

    Girardi is terrible but the real issue is Cano.

    The guy can’t hit a flyball in that spot?

    Anyone here think Pedroia couldn’t get the job done there?

  • all Michael Kay talked about was babies and sinkers

    steal the bag…take the risk…push the issue. Perhaps AROD gets to 2nd…if they throw through they know Gardner can go home…or they probably wouldn’t throw thru knowing Gardners speed. At least we force the action…perhaps they throw it into CF…miss a pick off at 1st…I didn’t like that loss at all…shoulda taken the W

  • JP

    Overall, I tend to think you take more risks running than not. Maybe if ARod’s running better, but I don’t know. Cano’s a good hitter, he makes contact alot, and I think I’d want to give him the chance to score the run making an out.

    But I gotta admit the DP never entered my mind. Hence I am not a manager. Straight steal, no, but given what happened, and what Girardi has done most of this year, it does seem odd he didn’t have him running on 3-2 pitches.