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.