Aug
10

When Brett Gardner didn’t steal

By

Brett Gardner is fast. He can outrace most baseball players, and he won’t get caught too often by even the best of catchers. Victor Martinez, not a great defensive backstop, shouldn’t phase him, and yet, when faced with a prime opportunity to run and the perpetual green light, Gardner froze yesterday. His indecision could have cost the Yankees a shot at the game.

To set the stage, we return to the top of the eighth. Mark Teixeira had just hit a home run to cut the Red Sox lead to 2-1, and Alex Rodriguez followed that up with a single. A-Rod had stolen a base on Sunday night, but Joe Girardi wanted the sure thing. Although A-Rod’s spot could have come up again, the Yankees’ manager turned to his speedy weapon off the bench, and Brett Gardner was called upon to pinch run.

The entire stadium knew what would happen next. Gardner would take off and get into scoring position with no one out. The Yankees’ WPA would have been nearly 50 percent at that point, and Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada would have had the opportunity to plate the tying run by making two outs. Knotted at two, the game could have evolved into a battle of the bullpens while the Bombers would have enjoyed home field advantage. It didn’t work out as planned, and Mike’s recent analysis of Brett Gardner’s declining number of stolen base attempts seemed to predict this very situation.

The three-way face-off amongst Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Daniel Bard was an epic one, and Bard, to his credit, played it perfectly. He came set twice, held the ball for a long period of time and threw two fastballs to Cano. After coming set for the next two pitches, he twice threw over to first base. Each time, his time to the plate or to first varied, and Gardner couldn’t get a read on his move. The 1-1 pitch was a change-up, and the 1-2 pitch a fastball. Neither time did Gardner get a good read on Bard’s move. Two more pick-off attempts sandwiched a foul ball, and on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, when Cano had to protect the plate on 1-2, Gardner took off. The slow roller probably wasn’t hit hard enough for the Red Sox to turn two, and the chess game on the mound seemed to paid off.

In an ideal world, Gardner would be the Jacoby Ellsbury of the Yankees. The speed is there, but Gardner doesn’t have the instincts or daring of Ellsbury. Four times, the Red Sox’s center fielder took off during Monday’s game, and four times, Ellsbury beat the throw, including once on a pitch-out. Ellsbury knows he’s faster than Jorge Posada’s arm, and he knows how to read a pitcher’s move. As soon as the right-hander’s leg goes up, he runs. Gardner, on the other hand, did not. He should have gone on the first pitch and never went at all when it could have made a difference.

When Mike wrote about Gardner’s stolen bases here last week, he highlighted a quote from Gardner. “Early in the season I was getting on base a lot and running a lot, and my legs just got a little tired,” he said. “I need to start running more. I wish I had been running more recently in the last several weeks, but I will. When we need me to try to get into scoring position, I’ll try to…it’s just a matter of trying to be smart.”

I’m not in a position to ask Gardner about his mental approach on the bases, but it seems that he isn’t what baseball scouts would call a natural basestealers. He can rely on his speed but hasn’t mastered the mental art of knowing when to go and how to go. In fact, his reticence on the basepaths led the Yankees to employ Freddy Guzman exclusively as a pinch runner last year, and yesterday, it came back to bite them as the team never had a chance to use Gardner’s speed.

It’s very hard to teach fast players to be good baserunners. In his prime, Bernie Williams was a speedster in the outfield who never could run the bases well. Gardner, by virtue of his even better speed, can cover for his mistakes, but yesterday’s was a glaring one. He doesn’t seem to trust his legs; he doesn’t seem to run enough; and when the season is over, the Yankees will have to examine Gardner’s approach to the bases. With Carl Crawford, a stellar baserunner, available, Gardner’s hesitancy could weigh against his Yankee future.

Categories : Analysis
  • Rose

    Brett Gardner’s legs are tired and Jacoby Ellsbury’s legs are completely fine…after having to take it very slow with broken ribs all year. I don’t buy it. That’s a cop out.

    By the way…who’s faster? Gardner or Ellsbury? Superman or The Flash? The Road Runner or Speedy Gonzalez?

    • Total Dominication

      Not sure about 2 of those, but the Flash is faster then Superman.

      • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

        Yes. Superman is fast but the Flash the frigging speed force to channel.

        /geek’d

    • bebopalua

      This sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but I actually think Gardner’s thumb is preventing him from both hitting & stealing. He can’t really drive the bat through the hitting zone as his thumb won’t let him so he’s sort of slinging the bat & as it’s becoming more evident w/each passing game, he’s making contact fewer & fewer times.

      As for his stealing bases, he dives head first rather than slides w/his feet, & as a result, he broke that thumb last year and re-injured it several weeks ago. I think he’s reticent to steal bases because he knows that he has a tendency to grab for the bag w/that hand w/the injured thumb & so he’s not going in order to avoid re-injury to the thumb.

      The club has to make sure he’s healthy enough to play. If it turns out he’s favoring the hand, they should d/l him. If he can’t help the team playing, they should get someone else up here who can & let him get healthy.

  • larryf

    Somebody just needs to let him know that even with a poor jump and possibly a pitchout, he is still going to get in there most of the time. Just steal it on the catcher Brett and build up some confidence!!

  • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch aka Master of the Obvious

    Damn that was frustrating. I was also wondering where Girardi and Kelleher were on this one, though, knowing Gardner’s lack of aggressiveness and the situation.

  • Matt :: Sec105

    I was watching the game with my Dad and we were talking about the same thing. As my Dad noted, he looked almost ‘afraid’ or ‘scared’ to.

    As noted, he fast…no one is gonna argue that, but he just doesn’t pass the good baserunner/stealer ‘eye test’, and I’ve said that for a while.

  • Max

    The impression I got was more that he has been hesitant to run himself into the ground. That might be something I would attribute to his first MLB season as a starter, injuring his thumb last year and very minorly re-injuring it this year. I don’t think his instincts are what’s missing, b/c clearly he’s stolen bases pretty well until somewhat recently. It’s partially mental and partially cautious.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    With Carl Crawford, a stellar baserunner, available, Gardner’s hesitancy could weigh against his Yankee future.

    With Crawford sure to command in excess of $10 mil/yr, wouldn’t it just be cheaper to hire someone (Ricky Henderson?) to teach Gardner how to read pitchers moves?

    • Total Dominication

      More like 15 mil, and Gardner is no Ricky Henderson.

      • Ellis

        He didn’t say Gardner=Ricky, he was saying that a great base-stealer could teach Gardner a few more skills and boost his confidence.

        • YankFanDave

          For better or worse this is who Brett Gardner is, he has the speed but not the will to use it and unfortunately you can’t teach that part of he game. In the minors, after being called up, last year and this year he himself has repeatedly stated that he needs to be more aggressive but it’s not what you say or others tell you it’s what you do. The average has been there, the OBP is there, and the opportunities have been there but the predicted 50 steals if… have not because he just is not that player. He’ll get his fair share of steals but he will continue to frustrate. BTW he is 27 years old not a 21 year old rookie who is still about the transform into something else, he is what he is period.

    • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

      Not a bad idea. There was a segment on ESPN in the preseason on Crawford working to improve his speed and basestealing moves. If Kevin Long can spend the offseason working with guys like Cano and Swisher, can’t the Yanks task Gardner to work on his stealing?

  • X

    I think the biggest mistakes of the game were:

    A.) not pinch hitting berkman for granderson in the 7th vs. Lester

    And/or

    B.) not pinch hitting gardner for jeter one batter later vs bard

    It’s hard to justify pinch hitting jeter but vs a flame throwing RH on the mound i think he’d understand

    • Hughesus Christo

      Umm… those are both… not good… ideas

      • X

        how is not pinch hitting a man who can’t hit ANY lefties vs. arguably one of the top 5 lefties in the game a good idea?

        and, jeter is mr clutch and all but i like gardner in that situation, you have to think outside the box sometimes, something girardi does not know how to do…

        • Klemy

          Berkman vs Lefties this year:

          .185 ave, .274 obp, .277 slg, .551 ops

          Grandy vs Lefties at:

          .207 ave, .243 obp, .275 slg, .518 ops

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            One other thing to consider: Berkman’s BABIP vs. LHP is around .212 while Granderson’s is around .282. Basically, Berkman’s been putting the ball in play vs. southpaws while Granderson has been striking out a lot. I’d have gone with Berkman, but I won’t roast Girardi over it.

            • Jose the Satirist

              “I’d have gone with Berkman, but I won’t roast Girardi over it.”

              Well said.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              One more thing to consider: Lance Berkman has grounded into 13 double plays this year.

              Curtis Granderson has grounded into 19 double plays in his entire career.

              • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

                A 4-6-3 double play would have scored a run. If you’re looking for someone to put the ball in play against a lefty, Granderson isn’t a very good choice.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  And yet, Granderson had put the ball in play twice before in that same game against Lester, two solid deep flyouts that also would have scored a run.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          how is not pinch hitting a man who can’t hit ANY lefties vs. arguably one of the top 5 lefties in the game a good idea?

          Pinch hitting a man who can’t hit lefties vs. arguably one of the top 5 lefties in the game is a good idea, yes… but it’s not a good idea to pinch hit for him with another guy who also can’t hit lefties and is slow as crap in a potential doubleplay situation.

          They both are bad options v. Lester, but Berkman is a far worse bad option.

          • Jose the Satirist

            How is Berkman a far worse option? Granderson hasn’t hit lefties well this year or for his career. Berkman has hit lefties significantly better than Granderson his entire career.

            Berkman’s LHP struggles this season are still better than Granderson, even though Berkman’s BABIP is well below his career BABIP against lefties.

            The double play risk isn’t real either. A ball in play would still score a run. Berkman is more likely to put the ball in play against LHP than Granderson.

            Saying Berkman is a far worse bad option isn’t true.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Okay: Berkman is a far worse bad option.

              “Far” was too extreme. Berkman was still worse, though.

              The slightly better contact skills are countermanded by the slower speed and diminished power (yes, Granderson now has more power than Berkman does, IMO).

              Add in the fact that Granderson had already faced Lester twice and hit deep flyballs against him, and Berkman would have been coming in cold against a lefty he’d never faced before during his worst season against lefties ever.

              I get why Girardi took his chances with Curtis, and I agree.

              • Tim

                Yup. Berkman is the lone offensive bullet in Girardi’s gun off the bench with that starting line-up. Knowing that you have two top righties in the back of the bullpen for Boston, and knowing that he is essentially impotent vs. lefties, why would you burn him there in that situation? It’s not like there were two outs, either, and this was your only chance. Even after Granderson failed, you still had Jeter and Swisher up with chances to push across a run with an out or two runs with a hit.

              • Jose the Satirist

                “Slightly better contact skills”

                Berkman 2010 K% vs L: 18.5%
                Berkman Career K% vs L: 17.0%
                Grandy 2010 K% vs L: 27.5%
                Grandy Career K% vs L: 27.4%

                Berkman strikes out 47% less against lefties than Granderson for his career. He has more than slightly better contact skills compared to Grandy.

                “Granderson now has more power than Berkman does”

                Grandy 2010: .177 ISO
                Grandy 2010 vs L: .069 ISO
                Berkman 2010: .182 ISO
                Berkman 2010 vs L: .092 ISO

                So far this year I think Berkman has still showed more power.

                “I get why Girardi took his chances with Curtis”

                I do too. I think Berkman was his best option, but I’m not going to get in a tizzy over it. He took a chance, it didn’t work out. Maybe he saw something in those two previous ABs by Grandy.

          • Chris

            is slow as crap in a potential doubleplay situation.

            Considering that you would have Posada on 3rd, Thames on second and Berkman batting, I wouldn’t rule out a triple play in that scenario. Those three aren’t really the fleetest of foot.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Gardner last 7 days: 111/111/167. He is totally lost at the plate right now.

          Had Girardi sent him in to hit for Jeter in that situation, he would have been run out of town, and justifiably so.

    • pat

      Pinch hitting Brett Gardner for Jeter? Hahaha ooook.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

      You would have pinch hit Gardner for Jeter? I’m just speechless.

  • larryf

    He could build up his confidence by practicing against Andy and getting no jump whatsoever and then getting in there safe against Jorge :-)

    • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

      I’ve always wondered if teams do this sort of thing.

      You have Andy Petitte who has one of the best moves in baseball, and is a left handed pitcher. Why not have your team practice stealing against him?

      It seems to make too much sense.

      • Tim

        Probably because practicing against Pettitte’s move does nothing to help you against any other pitcher’s move, as every move is different. The only thing that would do would be to teach Gardner how to steal off Pettitte.

        The real problem is the “green light” that Gardner has. In a situation like that (and we have had this come up a few times this year), it is time for Girardi to just give the sign and take any thought away from Gardner. He hesitates because he has a choice – he is allowed to go or not go based on having a “green light”. If Thompson gives the sign to steal, he has no choice but to do it. And imagine how hard that is for Cano, who is up at bat against a guy who throws 100 mph, and he knows that Gardner is going to try and steal, so he takes a few pitches to give him a chance, and because Gardner is sitting on first base with his thumb in his butt, Cano finds himself in the hole and having to swing at tough pitcher’s pitches and the whole thing goes to pot. It is a small miracle that Cano didn’t hit into a DP in that at bat, and it would have been Gardner’s fault.

        • larryf

          It teaches you that even with NO jump (regardless of the pitcher) your speed combined with a less than perfect pitch and less than perfect throw (Jorge’s throwing strength) will get you in there most of the time….

          • Tim

            He needs “practice” to know that? V-Mart couldn’t throw out a one-legged man hopping to second. Everyone in the league knows this. The jump doesn’t matter. That’s why you have to take the decision completely out of his hands and force him to go. If he won’t go on his own (and again, this isn’t the first time this has happened), FORCE HIM!!!

    • Klemy

      hahaha The sad thing to me is that might just be true.

  • Ellis

    Gardner is 6th is baseball in SBs (31) and of the top 10 he has the best SB% (83.8%). Yeah he absolutely should’ve been more aggressive last night, but I think we should hold back on saying he lacks “instincts and daring.”

    Really, for all we know, Girardi gave Gardner the red light.

    • Klemy

      But I think that SB % is directly related to his reluctance to go, unless he feels everything is perfect. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like using a SB % to validate his decision not to go more often doesn’t work well. Just my opinion.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Really, for all we know, Girardi gave Gardner the red light.

      Gardner always has the green light. The Yanks have said as much, and Girardi didn’t burn his best pinch runner to replace his HOF slugger only to give him the red light.

      • Klemy

        “Girardi didn’t burn his best pinch runner to replace his HOF slugger only to give him the red light.”

        This. The only reason you take Arod out there is to get in scoring position to try to tie the game.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Exactly. If you’re not going to steal second and get into scoring position in that situation, you might as well keep ARod in the game and play station-to-station to preserve Alex’s bat for later innings.

      • Paul

        It’s really as simple as not trusting himself, as you note. In that situation he really can’t get thrown out. I wonder if the pinch running adds a new element. You come off the bench fresh then need to execute with cold legs…

    • CS Yankee

      While I don’t think he got the red light and were frustrated that he doesn’t reallt attempt it yesterday we must realize how well he is playing overall and give him his due.

      Gardner’s flaws;
      1) looking at a few too many K’s down the middle
      2) doesn’t steal enough for our liking

      Gardner’s skills;
      1) Much better than what most thought as a batter…(BA, OBP, lefties, etc.)
      2) Unbelieveable speed has equated to being a real threat on the bases…top 5 in the game overall.
      3) A solid CF who is playing a great LF…has improved his throws.
      4) Attitude…will play anywhere, in any order, at any time
      5) Cheap…must be a top 10 for WAR per $.

      He might regress and all the Melky, Crawford and Damon posts will come out big time. The Melky way wasn’t a way, Crawford is getting expensive & old and lame wing Damon gives more of a bat but costs more and isn’t a solid defender anymore.

      Grit is good for Yankee baseball.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        2) Unbelieveable speed has equated to being a real threat on the bases…top 5 in the game overall.

        Not quite.

        The top 5 basestealers in the game are (not in order):
        Carl Crawford
        B.J. Upton
        Jacoby Ellsbury
        Michael Bourn
        Juan Pierre

        Brett’s probably in that next five, with Ichiro, Rajai Davis, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, etc. But there’s a good-sized gap between that top 5 and everyone else, IMO. Brett’s knocking on the door, but he’s not aggressive enough yet to be in the Crawford-Uptoon-Ellsbury-Bourn-Pierre grouping.

        • CS Yankee

          Wasn’t thinking of Bourn but were spitting hairs here.

          His base percentage is the best amongst the leaders and yes, once he goes in those high leverage situations he will have fully arrived.

          Seems like his speed makes up for his lack of lead.

          I remember Crawford was having trouble getting picked off a few years ago. Although his speed or jump didn’t decline, he worked with someone to stay lower after his push off and he was back to being great in no time.

          He is doing great but I agree that he should of rolled the dice yesterday…against VMart, they were stacked in his favor, but maybe Bard’s arm scared him away.

  • larryf

    Billy Martin wouldn’t take this crap. Girardi is not getting the most/best out of Brett. We do have Mickey Rivers in the organization but he is uh…..Carlos May once said Mickey couldn’t even spell IQ so maybe not the best teacher…

    • CS Yankee

      Gardner as a base stealer >>>>> Micky Rivers as a base stealer..

      actually, Gardner >>> Micky Rivers

  • Brandon

    Say what you like about Gardner’s daring-ness or lack there of. Regardless, the speed is there. Whos to say he cant become more aggressive?

    • Matt :: Sec105

      no one is, he just hasn’t shown it ever…even after that quote where he mentioned he is going to run more.

    • Chris0313

      Why is everyone so defensive of Brett Gardner? Ben never said he lacked the ability to become aggressive — he simply pointed out that Gardner is not aggressive now. With Gardner having a career year, it isn’t out of this world to think the Yankees would sell high on Gardner, trade for a need, and sign Crawford.

      Anyone who thinks Gardner can hit .300/.380 for his career is delusional.

      • Total Dominication

        I don’t think it’s delusional, just unlikely.

      • pat

        How are those two things related?

      • ZZ

        Anyone who thinks Gardner can hit .300/.380 for his career is delusional.

        It is delusional to claim a 26 year old in his first full year starting is having a “career year.”

        It is even more delusional to put labels on a 26 year old in his first full year starting about what he can or cannot do.

        It is completely idiotic to claim all these things when Brett Gardner has proved swarms of Yankee fans wrong this year after he was dismissed as a 4th OF just a few months ago.

        • CS Yankee

          This!

          The bread is still baking and we now have a MAS (medium appeatizer serving) versus just a SSS (small sample size).

        • Jorge

          seriously, imagine if the Yankees would have dismissed Don Mattingly’s first full season in the bigs as quickly as this.

  • Johnny O

    I was literally yelling at my computer screen begging Gardner to steal. Victor Martinez is Piazzan behind the plate, maybe worse. Vlad Guerrero’s 62 year old legs stole a base against him earlier this year. Even if Gardner has the proverbial green light at all times, Girardi should learn from this that in similar situations he needs to order Gardner to steal if he won’t do it by himself. I’m still heated about this and glad that RAB posted about it.

    • larryf

      Agree. Kangaroo Court time for Brett. With his paltry 476K, that should do it!

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    THANK YOU for writing this! I’ve been saying it for two years now!

  • Brian

    2 points: 1. Gardner’s future as a Yankee may be in doubt if the Yanks sign Crawford? Well Gardner is a better baseball player than Curtis Granderson who still could net the Yanks a prospect or two if they deal him in the off-season and move Gardner to CF. Gardner hits for a better avg, plays better D and has much better speed. Although he didn’t steal yesterday he still has over 30 SB’s and Granderson doesn’t bring that to the table. I think the move for the Yanks is to sign Crawford and have your OF be Crawford LF, Gardner CF, and Swisher in RF. Granderson should be dealt and the Yanks should get whatever they can for him. 2. Martinez is a terrible catcher and Gardener should have gone no matter his read because of that but Martinez has had a better defensive year than Jorge who cost us this game by his horrible throw in the 2nd inning for his 7th E on the season. All of sudden Hughes had to deal with a runner at 3rd and 1 out instead of 2 outs or just a runner on 2nd. In a close ball game the Red Sox were able to get their runs on 2 infield singles because Jorge can no longer throw anyone out. This site crushed Cervelli for his E on Friday night but I didn’t see anyone being overly critical of Posada who w/o his 12 HR’s would be exactly what Cervelli is and with Posada batting .200 with runners in scoring position it is tough to see him play much next season.

    • Jose the Satirist

      For future reference try separating the post into paragraphs. It makes it easier to read.

      • Brian

        Thanks for the note: If I were writing a term paper I would certainly have done that.

        • Accent Shallow

          Never understood this attitude.

          “I don’t want to take the effort to make my post readable.”

          I see walls of text and my eyes just glaze over.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Exactly.

            Brian may have made some great points in there, but I’m not going to attempt to read it because he didn’t even have the common courtesy to make it easy to read, a courtesy that takes like an extra two seconds, tops.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          If you want people to read your comments, you should do it too. Pressing enter twice won’t kill you.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          The reason your teachers kept goading you to write clearly and appropriately with proper paragraph breaks, punctuation, syntax, and grammar is so that you could write well as an adult in real-life situations, so that your message wouldn’t get ignored due to indecipherable or hard to navigate prose.

          Don’t let their hard work go to waste.

        • Meat Loaf

          Stuff like that will lose you major respect here.

          I didn’t even bother reading your post.

  • Zack

    I remember Gardner getting throw out as a PR late in the season last year and everyone bitching that you just can’t steal because your fast.
    Now its, “JUST RUN!”

  • Anthony

    Like Michael Kay and Ken singleton this isn’t the 1st time he’s been in the game as s punch runner and didn’t run. He was put in there to run. Girardi should just give him the steal sign not jyst the green light sign.

  • CS Yankee

    Another thing to consider is that Bard was throwing like 97-99 while slide-stepping (as opposed to the windup) in the stretch.

    The difference between an average MLB pitcher (90-91) and Bard has to mean a couple of feet worth of real estate, doesn’t it? It would be interesting to break this down to what advantage that is for a pitcher with an extreme heater.

    • larryf

      outweighed by VMart factor

  • Michael Kay but not THE

    perhaps Cashman can pick up Guzman again and Girardi can have someone available down the stretch to pinch run for Tex & A-Rod and not steal.

    All kidding aside, if Joe can promise aside from having the game winning run in a playoff game on base in the 9th inning he’ll never pinch run for A-Rod (outside of fatigue or injury) I’ll be fine.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordan_smed JGS

    No one has mentioned this yet, but at the time I was much more upset at Gardner for his non-action during Posada’s AB than Cano’s. Once he was on second with one out, he absolutely should have taken third. Even with a lefty at the plate, from my view in right field it certainly looked like Adrian Beltre was playing Posada way off the line. He could have put the tying run on third with one out, and with Beltre having to cover the ground to beat him to the bag, there was a decently more than zero chance Martinez would have thrown the ball into left field.

    • Jose the Satirist

      Interesting take. Little tidbit of info. Gardner had 115 stolen base opportunities last year. He took third 5 times while never being caught. This year he has 171 stolen base opportunities. He has only taken third 1 time while never being caught. You might be on to something with him risking taking third.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        The best basestealers say, to a man, that third is easier to steal than second.

        Because nobody’s holding you on at second, and because the pitcher’s back is to you (regardless of his handedness), you can get a much larger lead and jump.

  • Zooboy

    A great base-stealer is a tremendous weapon to have off the bench. As yet, BG is not that weapon. Although it does seem to me that Girardi manages as if he is that kind of weapon. He either needs to run, or stay on the bench late in the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

    I think Gardner is afraid of getting hurt and/or running himself down, as he basically admitted with that quote. He is probably a bit banged up from the season, like all players, and being the first time he has gotten this much playing time, I think he is just physically and mentally beat up. He is obviously working on snapping out of it, but it is tough. I hope he can turn it back on.

    • Tim

      If he is afraid of getting hurt, then he shouldn’t be playing. Period.

  • larryf

    Things could be worse-see Tori Hunter getting thrown out trying to steal 3rd down by several runs in the 9th inning…DUMB!!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      That would have been a great play on Torii’s part… 8 years ago when he still had speed.

  • 007

    This article should be about Granderson who sucked yesterday oh wait like almost every game this year. The guy should not be playing everyday never mind playing against lefty’s and getting to play in CF. There needs to be a shake up with him. No longer should he be playing everyday, when he does he needs to be in LF. I never liked this trade from day one and as of now the Yankees like i said then got the worst end of the trade. But statics could have told anyone that. Anyway if the Yankees want to go far in the playoffs then they have the realize that Granderson is the weak link. I do not want to hear about Gardner making mistakes because everyone does. Gardner not Granderson is the only one who has enough honor to play CF for the New York Yankees. As for Crawford sure maybe the Yankees should get him but he better not replace Brett Gardner as he is the teams best CF its Granderson that needs to be replaced.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      There’s an article about Granderson right here. Please check the front page before posting off-topic comments.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Juuuust a bit off-topic.

    • Tim

      Not only way off-topic but patently wrong, as well. Granderson, for all his struggles against left-handed pitching, has been the far better player of the two for the better part of the last 2 months. Gardner is batting .192 and OPS’ing .615 since July 1. The only centerfield he should be playing right now with those numbers is in Scranton, not the Bronx.

      For the record, I am not saying that Gardner should be demoted, or that the bloom is off the rose and he is garbage. I like Gardner a lot and think he is very valuable to this team. But he has been Cervelli-ing for the past two months or so, and clearly needs a day or so to get right.

  • matthaggs

    Should have just left Arod in. He is a smarter, better base stealer than Gardner. Maybe Arod’s leg isn’t 100 percent, but we’re talking about less than 90 feet, not running the Stadium stairs.

    When you add to it that Bard probably would have paid less attention to Arod than he did to Gardner, were Gardner’s chances of stealing really that much better than Arod’s? It’s Victor Martinez back there. Posada would have a shot against him.

    Plus all that fooling around by Bard might have messed up Cano.

  • kosmo

    I´m not sure anyone mentioned this but I´d like to know why Girardi felt it necessary to pinch run for Arod in the first place? If Girardi was looking ahead to the 9th inning he might have taken into account that AROD owns Papelbon and AROD is even with a bruised leg quite capable of stealing a base off of Martinez.
    Although TEX SO to end the game the notion that AROD has taken Papelbon deep twice in the 9th inning on 2 different occasions is MAYBE an advantage for NY .Who would Papelbon rather see in the on deck circle AROD or Gardner ? Just MAYBE that might have been on Papelbon´s mind and could have changed the outcome ?
    I´m just sayin´

    • Tim

      How would it have been an advantage for NY? It isn’t like they walked Teixeira and Gardner made the last out. Are you suggesting that the “fear” of A-Rod on deck would have increased the likelihood of Papelbon making a mistake to Teixeira? That is patently ridiculous.

      • kosmo

        I am suggesting something along those lines and to dismiss it as “patently ridiculous” is your business .Maybe he makes a mistake to Tex because Papelbon knows AROD pretty much owns him.Pitchers can get psyched out in pressure situations it has been known to happen ALOT.Just sayin´…

  • Bob C

    Gardner lacks “daring”? Short memories here..that dash to home, the Mauer diving tag play, was pretty damn daring. It took an incredible play by Mauer to get him out. He’s still new, still feeling his way, knowing that he was completely underestimated. This year is his first year as a starter, and he has exceeded all expectations. Should he have run yesterday? Sure. If he had been thrown out, though, I suspect the commentary would be different.

    • Meat Loaf

      Bob, wouldn’t the play qualify as not-daring if it took an incredible play to get him out?

    • Becca Jackson

      Thank you, at least someone has a memory

  • Becca Jackson

    Seriously everyone has to give Brett Gardner a break.
    #1. Gardner is still a relatively young player, and doesn’t have as much experience as names mentioned such as Carl Crawford, and Ellsburg
    #2. Girardi and the whole clubhouse love Gardner and think he has amazing potential, which he does and are not going to get rid of him
    and #3. He didn’t even have a chance to steal 2nd base, the first pitches were thrown back to first, and Cano grounded so it would not have made a difference

    I don’t think he is scared to steal, he needs to get back into the swing of things again which is understandable considering he is in a bit of a slump right now. It happens to all of them, look at what happened to Robbie