Apr
12

Swisher’s homer powers Yanks to sweep of O’s

By

The Yankees had all of four extra-inning wins in 2011, and they got halfway to that total over the last two nights. Despite a depleted bullpen, they pulled their season record even at 3-3 with a 6-4 win in ten innings on Wednesday.

(REUTERS/Patrick Smith)

Battlin’

In the first inning, CC Sabathia looked sharp. He retired the side in order with two strikeouts, but then came the 38-pitch second inning. The Yankees took a two-zip lead two batters into the game on Curtis Granderson‘s homer, but Sabathia gave it back in the second on Robert Andino’s two-strike single. His pitch count sat at 74 after just three innings, and things weren’t looking good given the thin relief corps. The Orioles took a one-run lead on Mark Reynolds‘ two-run double in the fifth, when Sabathia was closing on the century mark. He managed to throw a perfect sixth inning and finished the night with 112 pitches.

Anecdotally, it seemed like Sabathia struggled most when he had to pitch from the stretch. He seemed to be fine from the windup, locating his fastball and slider well, but with men on base he was just … off. That said, most pitchers are out of a game like this in the second or third inning. Even when Sabathia’s bad, he still goes six innings. The guy doesn’t get enough credit for keeping the Yankees in the game on his off-nights, like these first two starts of 2012. By the way, this was the 62nd straight start in which CC went at least five innings.

The Big Hit

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Yankees have been pretty awful with runners in scoring position so far this season, but on Wednesday night they seemed to get over the hump. They went 4-for-10 with men on second and/or third overall, the biggest blow being Nick Swisher‘s two-run homer off Kevin Gregg with two outs in the tenth inning. He struck out looking with a man on third and one out in the eighth, so he did well to redeem himself.

Granderson had two of those four hits, including his homer in the first and game-tying opposite single in the seventh. Brett Gardner dunked in a bloop single that loaded the bases but did not score a run given it’s bloopiness. The Swisher homer wi” get most of the attention and rightfully so, but the Yankees did a pretty good job of turning base runners into runs in this game, or at least a better job than they had been doing.

Binderball

The first six games of the season have featured some adventurous calls by Joe Girardi, but I think the intentional walk to Nick Markakis in the ninth inning of this game has been the worst. The O’s had runners on first and second with two outs, and Rafael Soriano was instructed to walk Markakis and pitch to Adam Jones. It forced a runner over to third, meaning a walk, wild pitch, passed ball, hit-by-pitch, whatever would have ended the game.

Naturally, the move worked. Soriano blew Jones away on four pitches, getting him to swing and miss at three explosive fastballs. That doesn’t mean the intentional walk was the right call though, it was a bad move that luckily led to good results. Never put the winning run on third base, there’s just so much that can go wrong. After all those years of bad bunt calls, it looks like this is the year of the intentional walk.

So this happened.

Leftovers

Tonight’s unsung hero? My vote goes to Boone Logan, who replaced Sabathia and retired all five men he faced, including four right-handed batters. Soriano got four outs including the Jones strikeout, and Mariano Rivera threw his usual scoreless inning for his second save in as many days. Over the last two games, the bullpen has thrown 11.1 scoreless innings with just four hits, four walks, and 16 strikeouts. Just can’t say enough about how great those guys have been early on.

Eduardo Nunez really is amazing. He pinch-ran for Alex Rodriguez late in the game, then had a Johnny Damon moment by stealing two bases on one play as the ball got away from the defender. Nunez then nearly threw a ball away an inning later, and in the tenth inning he got picked off first following a one-out single. To be fair, replays showed it was a bad call and he was actually safe. Still, this dude is a human blooper reel.

Derek Jeter led off the game with the double, his fifth leadoff hit in their six games. The Cap’n has been the Yankees’ best hitter early on, and he’s been putting the pressure on right at the top of the first inning. Very nice to see. Every player in the starting lineup reached base at least once except for Robinson Cano, who took an 0-for-5. Jeter (double and walk), Granderson (homer and single), Mark Teixeira (single and double), and Raul Ibanez (two walks) each reached base twice.

We’ve heard an awful lot about the shift this last week because of the Rays, and the Yankees had the shift on Reynolds in the second inning. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they kept feeding him soft stuff away. That doesn’t work, those pitches are going to be slapped the other way not pulled. The shift isn’t just about positioning, you have to pitch to it as well. The Yankees are terrible at that.

Someone really, really needs to get on Sabathia about sticking his bare hand out at bats in play. He took a one-hopper off his left hand in the second and although he was fine, we really could have done without the scare.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are off on Thursday, then they’ll open the home portion of their schedule against the Angels on Friday afternoon. It’ll be Hiroki Kuroda against Ervin Santana, and Jorge Posada is going to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. If you want to attend, check out RAB Tickets.

Categories : Game Stories

106 Comments»

  1. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    I will have nightmares of the Michael Kay pic.

    • jayd808 says:

      Clearly not needed and no thanks for your efforts to further the foul sense of humor. Oh, and “this dude is a human blooper reel” isn’t appreciated either. Granted Nunez can be an adventure on defense but he also brings an X element to the game, something in the tradition of a Franco Cervelli. When you need a hit, it’s good to see him coming to bat. You’re constant maligning is a negative not needed. Grow up.

      • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection) says:

        ?????

      • jsbrendog says:

        this comment brings nothing to the table. if you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

      • YanksFan in MA says:

        Who shit in your breakfast?

      • Greg says:

        I flipped the channel momentarily while Nunez was on first and when I flipped back to the game they were showing the replay of him getting picked off…and for some reason I wasn’t angry or the least bit surprised…it was as if I expected something like that with Nunez.

    • jsbrendog says:

      why would someone photoshop and ruin a picture of those poor weights with michael kay’s face?!?!

    • BeanTooth says:

      Are those Shake Weights in his hands?

  2. Dino Velvet says:

    And the Greatest Team Evah Assembled© fell to 1-5.

    They’re pulling their hair out in RSN.

    Some one asked Valentine if expects to be boooed Friday in Fenway, and he essentially said he’s preparing for it.

    Hah!

    • Pat D says:

      I thought that was last year’s team.

    • Pat D says:

      Also, if Valentine expects to get booed, then Francona has done them a favor by refusing to show up for the 100th anniversary celebration.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Did he really refuse?

        That’s….something. Ouch.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          Yeah. He and Lucchino got into an argument over the phone about it. All class, that Red Sox organization. Good for Francona to decline after they dragged his name through the mud. Some thanks to their best manager in 80 years.

          • MannyGeee says:

            i really really like Francona. I always didn’t hate him, but by not bending over to Sox ownership because its what you’re “supposed to do”. Classy guy, that Tito.

        • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection) says:

          How long did it take Torre to show up at Yankee Stadium after getting the boot?

          • David Ortizs Dealer says:

            Keep in mind Torre had the Dodgers job, he came back for Old Timers Day and the Boss’s memorial when his schedule allowed.

            Tito has no other committment keeping him away and actually his current job makes his more than available, he’ll be in town Sunday if not Fri or Sat.

            • jsbrendog says:

              torre trashed the yankees, the yankees aid/did nothing about/to him and still asked him back. in this scenarion torre is the sox and the yankees are francona

              • BeanTooth says:

                Not really. The Yankees offered Torre a pay cut, knowing he’d be insulted by it and walk. For a guy with four rings, they had treated him pretty shabby for the last few years of his tenure. Torre didn’t distinguish himself on the way out, so by your analogy, they’re both the Sox.

                • Broll The American says:

                  Did the Yanks treat Jeter “shabby” when he received a pay cut in his current contract? Contracts are based on recent performance, not on things from 4 or 5 years prior. Jeter is paid on his 1999/2000 performance. The 2008 Torre would have been paid as a guy who didn’t win a pennant in 4 years. The prior contracts were based on a guy who won WS and pennants every year.

                • Pasqua says:

                  Wasn’t the sticking point bonuses on the Torre contract? I seem to remember (when I read the book) that it wasn’t an issue of salary; he was offended that they weren’t offering him more money for playoff appearances / wins. I believe Torre presented it as a “cut,” but it was later stated that the bonuses were standard in previous contracts. I might be remembering it wrong.

                  • Broll The American says:

                    You have it backwards. The contract was heavily incentivized towards playoff wins. The base salary was less. The opportunity was there, based on the incentives, for the contract to be worth as much as his previous. I believe if he won the WS he would wind up making more than his previous contract. His contention was years. It was a 1 year contract. He wanted 2 years.

    • radnom says:

      Yeah…….pretty sure even RS fans were pretty down about this year’s team (and 6 games means still means nothing, even when its the other guys).

  3. Pat D says:

    I’d forgotten all about that picture.

    Thanks, Axisa, for scarring me this night. If I can’t stay awake at work tomorrow, I’m holding you accountable.

  4. Plank says:

    Watching Eduardo Nunez play baseball is like watching someone walk on stilts for the first time or a fawn standing for the first time. It’s terrifying, yet exhilarating.

  5. Rey22 says:

    Worst RAB post ever, solely due to the picture.

  6. Johnny says:

    Hope this series served to righten the ship some before the home opener. The Angels have been way overrated (I feel like Detroit is the only legitimately scary lineup in the majors, at least at this stage of the season). But to be fair, they do play a fine brand of baseball:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play......k%3D317804

    The brand where you do crazy s— for no reason. Then again, maybe it’s not fair to show that without this…

    http://gif.mocksession.com/wp-.....LBANEZ.gif

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Texas’ lineup > Detroit’s.

      • Johnny says:

        I think that’s true, but I’m not scared by Texas. I’m scared when I see Cabrera-Fielder-Avila, and I just don’t know how anyone gets past that alive. It’s totally subjective on my part; that’s just how I feel.

  7. Chris says:

    Too many homers. Hitting homers with RISPs doesn’t count, that’s not how you play the game the right way.

  8. Gonzo says:

    I was at the game tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve been too Camden, but are the O’s fans getting braver? I don’t remember so many O’s fans talking trash.

    It was freaking cold as heck too.

      • Dino Velvet says:

        the fat guy in the middle looks like Schilling

        • RetroRob says:

          The fat guy in the middle objects to the comparison.

          It’s scary that Orioles’ fans have so little going on that one of their few hightlights is being known for booing Mark Teixeira, who is simply one of many players who have refused to play in Baltimore!

      • Gonzo says:

        They sure booed Tex. They called him a traitor which I thought was funny since he last played there in high school.

        • SevenAces says:

          Such is the life of a cellar dwelling baseball team fan.

        • BeanTooth says:

          I don’t understand their antipathy. It’s not like he spent years talking about how he wanted to play in Baltimore and then let them wine and dine him in free agency only to spurn them. I don’t recall him leading them on. Are they made because they believe everyone born in Maryland by rights should be an Oriole?

      • Brian Paul says:

        Someone needs to tell the guy on the right that banging sticks together in a random sequence is not the same as playing the drums.

      • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection) says:

        Still…these guys >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bernie’s music.

        Sad, but true. Bernie is absolutely awful.

        • jsbrendog says:

          false. i saw allman brothers at beacon and bernie came out and ripped it on one way out. his guitar solo was awesome. derek trucks and warren haynes had hge smiles on their faces and the crwd went nuts after when greg said “bernie williams on guitar everybody!!”

          I have the bootleg (soundboard quality) if anyone wants to hear it. he played another song with them too although didnt have the solo in that one.

          you may not like his style nbut he is a talented musician

  9. Duh Innings says:

    The Yanks won last night in spite of Girardi’s idiotic and potentially Yankee win-costing move to intentionally walk Markakis and load the bases to get to .304 hitting best all-around O’ Adam Jones.

    Soriano saved The Overmanager’s ass. That’s my new nickname for Girardi: The Overmanager.

    I’m amazed the Yanks are 3-3 without an RBI by the heart of the order six games into the season. What’s cool about that is the heart of the order is wayyyy overdue to drive in some runs, so here’s to them doing that Friday The 13th!

    • pat says:

      LOl. Are you for real quoting Adam Jones 2012 batting average?

    • Chen Meng Wang says:

      ” best all-around O’ Adam Jones.” Matt Wieters says what’s up.

    • Chip says:

      So was he overmanaging when he left in Garcia yesterday? Was he overmanaging when he pinch hit Ibanez yesterday? You can’t just argue one side and then ignore the evidence that makes it not true

      • Johnny says:

        There’s an easy way to settle this: my full and 100% true and accurate list of Girardi’s good and bad managerial decisions so far this season:

        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q8RFNa3jDuU1oiw_aTiNs7N9SjwYgFJ-U_UPaUrlpA8/edit

        • pat says:

          Dude that’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to do something like that.

        • Chip says:

          I don’t see a lot of positives about the bullpen moves he did make. I mean, every time either Logan or Rapata comes in against a lefty he should get a positive. Also, every time Rivera is brought it, it should be marked as a positive

          • Chip says:

            Also, if he were managing to not be criticized then the pen would have never survived last night.

          • Johnny says:

            Those moves are self-evident. I’m only including the moves that an ordinary/sensible manager wouldn’t have made. For instance, your ordinary manager might not have pinch-run Nunez for Rodriguez because Rodriguez isn’t exactly slow. Furthermore, your ordinary manager might not have gone on to replace Nunez with Chavez for defensive purposes.

            And your ordinary manager would always put the closer in in the 9th, so there’s no point listing that Girardi brought in Rivera to get the save. That’s a no-brainer.

            BUT, your ordinary manager would use a LOOGY like Boone or Rapada as a LOOGY and not allow them to face righties like Girardi did twice at the Trop. Your ordinary manager wouldn’t be pulling IBBs everywhere and leaving starters in when it’s clear they’re not on their game.

            • David Ortizs Dealer says:

              Replacing the blooper reel with Chavez for defense was a given.

            • Greg says:

              A manager should never bring a closer in in the 9th on the road….only at home where you can win it in the bottom of the inning….also, i wouldn’t complain too much about Girardi’s use of the bullpen since it has been like the best in baseball since he has been managing the Yanks….a far cry from the days of Scott Proctor 6 nights a week.

        • Plank says:

          Had reliever Rafael Soriano intentionally walk Nick Markakis to load the bases for Adam Jones with two outs in the 9th.

          - Statistically, Girardi’s play could be justified as Jones had performed poorly (0-6) against Soriano compared to Markakis (1-2). The strategy paid off and Soriano escaped the bases-loaded jam without allowing a run to score.

          Why isn’t that green? That’s a decision Girardi made and it worked perfectly?

          Why not include Soriano pitching as a decision he made that worked. His efficacy was questionable due to the damaged hand but Girardi went to him and he rocked it. If he got knocked around you would have been shouting from the mountaintops that he should have let him rest until he was healthy.

          I don’t know why I’m bothering, you decided before the season started that Girardi doesn’t know how to manage so you are trying (poorly) to point out where he errs.

          If you think he’s a bad manager, fine, but don’t use anecdotal evidence to do it. And certainly don’t use negative anecdotal evidence while ignoring positive anecdotal evidence to do it while claiming to make “my full and 100% true and accurate list of Girardi’s good and bad managerial decisions so far this season.”

          • Johnny says:

            You’re an idiot. Really, that’s what it comes down to. I wish I was intelligent enough to come up with something snarky, something of Keith Law preportions, but I’m not that good. So that’s all I’ve got for you.

            • Plank says:

              You really refuted my claims there.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              He’s the idiot, but you came up with an opinion first, then developed a fucking Google Doc to supposedly back it up. Not enough to do during the day, I suppose?

              Swisher, Girardi, blah blah blah. Enjoy the damn game already. Dissent doesn’t automatically make you smarter.

        • Andy K says:

          Johnny,
          That was really interesting. How do you do that?

          Watching the game from my my unfan friendly territory in Franklin, Ma, I almost threw the remote at the screen when Girardi walked Markakis. My Sox buddies would have never stopped joking had the O’s won.

          • Kosmo says:

            I remember once Showalter while managing the D-Backs walked Bonds in the 9th inning with the bases loaded !!!! allowing a run to score which made the game something like 4-3 and then got the next batter out to end the game.

            Yanks have averaged 96 wins a year with a WS ring during Girardi´s tenure as manager no reason to go to overboard in critiquing Joe G.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      You manage to come to the right conclusion, but your reasoning is terrible. Mike had the right argument, it was a shaky call because it moves the runner to 3B. As far as opting to pitch to Jones over Markakis, that’s a totally defensible decision. Why not give me their platoon splits instead of citing Jones batting average over 6 games? It’s funny that you call the decision “idiotic” yet you have no idea why exactly.

      • Greg says:

        Idiotic is the third base coach the night before sending Swisher with no outs and the heart of the lineup coming up.

    • David says:

      Not true! Teix has an RBI!

  10. Duh Innings says:

    File this under weird:

    Friday’s game will be one of two (yes TWO) Friday The 13th games the Yankees and Angels will play at Yankee Stadium. The second one will be in July.

  11. Mark says:

    I wonder if Mo has a huge folder with scribe articles from every year saying is this the year he loses it? 3 straight days, 3 shutout innings, Mariano we all love you!

  12. RetroRob says:

    Ibanez didn’t get any hits, but he did draw a couple of walks and stole another base. Good to see him continuing to contribute as it looks like Damon has just signed with the Indians according to Ken Rosenthal, who plan to play him in the OF, despite the Yankees belief that Ibanez was more capable of that than Johnny.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Interesting bit on Damon’s contract, he can opt out in 2 months after Sizemore comes back. So if he’s raking and Ibanez is toast (and he has not looked like he is so far, surprisingly), Boras can use that to extract an extra million or two from the Yanks. Gotta hand it to that guy….

  13. SevenAces says:

    What was seen can not be unseen…

    YES should have warned us about that photoshopped Michael Kay briefs ad.

  14. Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

    Al from Miami is starting to look like Al from Boca Raton. That old man can’t hit for shiiieeetttt.

    /im a prick

  15. Jd says:

    Nunez “almost” throwing the ball away and being the victim of a bad call somehow makes for a bad night in mike’s biased world. How about 1-1, with two SBs? Every time Nunez does something well diminisihes mike because it reinforces that mike is an A blogger but a C- evaluator of players. Mike, don’t worry about it. Good bloggers are special.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Well, it was a terrible throw to 1B on a routine play. I want Nunez to succeed as much as anyone here, but that throw was fair game for criticism.

      The “pick off” isn’t really fair because he was actually safe. So I kindof agree with you there, although the personal attacks on Mike are ridiculous and unwarranted.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      When did I say he had a bad night? A+ complainer, F+ reading comprehension.

      • JD says:

        Mike,

        The kid had a pretty good night. There was no reason to throw in the nonsense about “human blooper real”. Likewise, there was no reason to say that he was picked off but “to be fair” it was a bad call. The fact is that you don’t like Nunez. I get it, but he already is much better than you ever expected and, I think, he is going to get a good bit better. He makes next to nothing, is versatile and a hustler. Honestly, I wonder why you give $20 million a year veterans a break and yet ride this guy so hard — unless, of course, it worries you when he succeeds. You are over-compensating. Even people with “F+” reading comprehension can read through that.

        • Greg says:

          Technically he did get picked off. He was called out as the ump saw it. Maybe if he wasn’t so far off the base he wouldn’t have put himself in a position for there to be a close call.

        • Havok9120 says:

          I like NUnez a lot, but he really is a human blooper reel. Nearly every play is excited in a baaaaaad way. Mike’s opinion of Nunez is well documented and not completely fair, but its not unreasonable. The guy has been a butcher on defense, even to a lesser extent in the minors.

  16. Monterowasdinero says:

    CC has a poor follow through in terms of fielding. He falls off to the 3b side-sometimes terribly so. Pineda falls off to the 1B side so hopefully we won’t see him reach for a ball on the other side. A Jim Kaat tutorial anyone?

    Have to agree about an intentional walk to put the lead runner/winning run in the 9th at 3B being dumb.

    Nick $wi$ha is going to have a career year. Book it. I’m reserving judgement on the big contract until the post season is over.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Kaat, or invite the Moose to spring training.

    • thenamestsam says:

      There is a case to be made that it’s better to have a large fall-off. Some biomechanics guys think that the “classic” mechanics to get you back to ideal fielding position decelerate your arm speed too quickly, leading to a greater risk of arm injury. That is going to be doubly true for big guys like CC and Pineda who have more momentum to stop.

      That said, while I have no problem with being in bad fielding position if it helps keep you healthy, sticking the bare hand out there is really a terrible reaction and I wish he would stop it.

  17. paul says:

    at some point in the future when we have another IF, Nunez has to go. The intentional walk to markakis is baffling. Yanks battled, pitching battled, and timely hits finally showed up. Lets keep it goin…

  18. Monterowasdinero says:

    Kay’s head from chin to top of hair has got to be 2 feet.

  19. Mike Nitabach says:

    Nunez’s slide into third was hilarious!

  20. Skip says:

    Re: The Yankees shift and pitching soft away.

    I think they are executing this properly. It’s Mark Reynolds up there, who is a pull happy strikeout machine. His tendency is to pull what he can and hit it out of the park – that’s why the plan for soft stuff throws off his timing and he should up rolling over it for a grounder to where the infielders are.

    I would have to agree with what the Yankees are doing. To imagine it another way, look at how other teams pitch to Tex when he’s batting lefty. It’s always shift to the right and soft stuff away. Same with Ortiz in Boston – it’s always offspeed pitches away. They quit throwing fastballs away to him when he got really good at using the Monster, but he still struggles with changeups and sliders away.

    Has there ever been a correlative analysis of intended pitch location in shift situations vs. outcome?

  21. Buffalo Bill says:

    Is this going to be a trend all season long – whether the Yankees win or lose, is Mike going to insist on finding one managerial decision he disagrees with (regardless of the merits or the outcome) and criticize Girardi for it? I hope not – this is getting tired already and we are only in week 1 of the season.

    And anyway (although I shouldn’t feel obligated to do this, I will), can we stop acting like the decision to walk Markakis was such a heinous one? I understand that a runner scores from third more easily and through more potential plays than from second. But that risk was obviously mitigated in Girardi’s mind by the greater likelihood of Markakis (a lefty) getting a hit off Soriano than Jones (a righty who’d gone 0-6 lifetime against Soriano to that point). Since Reimold has decent speed and no Yankee outfielder has what would be termed a “strong” arm, any hit to the outfield likely scores Reimold whether he is on second or third. So basically Joe was saying the likelihood of a Markakis hit is greater than the likelihood of a Jones hit, and error (a fairly rare occurrence), a wild pitch or passed ball (even more rare) or a walk to Jones. It was a gamble. It paid off. With the game at sudden death, Joe asked himself, “I need to get one out. Which hitter is most likely to get me that out.” I think we would all agree that Jones was the preferred hitter from a Yankee perspective than Markakis.

    Believe me, as a blackjack player I understand that just because you hit with 17 and get a four doesn’t mean you made the “right” decision. The end result does not justify poor decision making. But this decision just flat out wasn’t THAT egregious. And there are things you don’t necessarily know. Maybe Joe feels the Yankees have a better book on Jones than Markakis. Or maybe it was just a gut feeling. Girardi has gotten a reputation and a lot of criticism here as this robot manager who lives and dies by his binder. Yet when he makes a decision that appears somewhat unconventional, he gets beaten up, too.

    Ironically, the other day we watched “genius” manager Joe Maddon ask Jose Molina to suicide squeeze with two strikes and one out of a tie ballgame. I honestly cannot think of a worse managerial decision our Joe has made in his three plus years of managing the Yankees than that one. I thought letting Arrieta pitch to Cano with second and third in the sixth last night of a 3-2 game was a terrible decision. Both of these calls in my opinion are FAR worse than the one you are griping about in the ninth.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The line between maverick and moron is a thin one sometimes. Either you just threw caution to the wind or you ignored logic and reason, and it’s all dependent on the success of the play…

      The only way half the complainers will ever come close to manning the bullpen phone at Yankee Stadium will be if they pay for the tour.

    • Pasqua says:

      When you, as a manager, create a scenario in which the batter literally doesn’t have to do anything in order for his team to win, then I think the decision can be rightly criticized. Once that runner is voluntarily put on third, the win-scenarios for the O’s are multiplied. A wild pitch / passed ball, a balk, now become events that cost you the game…and Jones doesn’t even have to swing.

    • Guns of the Navarone says:

      Listen, you can have your opinion about Girardi and that’s fine. And I don’t mean to put words in Mike’s mouth, but when the manager of this team makes a bad or questionable call, it’s fair game to criticize or question that move. I think that’s part of what this blog is all about – to discuss the Yankees. I don’t see Mike making any statements about Girardi’s managing overall.

      I’ll make one. I think he’s absolutely, unquestionably a bad manager. That’s not to say EVERYTHING he does is wrong. He almost always makes great bullpen decisions. I’m not going to fault him for having designated innings like every other manager in the game. But his in-game decisions leave a lot to be desired in my opinion and it takes away from his other strengths. Anyway, we’re not here to evaluate three seasons of managing. This is really about last night.

      I believe that last night’s move to walk Markakis is totally indefensible. I like how you stated that “the end result does not justify poor decision making.” I agree with that entirely. But I don’t see how you can basically admit that walking Markakis leads to more scenarios in which the Yankees lose the game, and yet still defend that move. That makes no sense to me. Walking Markakis to load the bases increases the likelihood the Yankees lose that game. Period. I don’t feel like that can be disputed. And all the “gut feelings” in the world won’t change that.

      Last night’s walk to Markakis was a bad move. That doesn’t mean it has to change your opinion of Girardi’s managing as a whole. That move alone doesn’t make him a bad manager. But I think it’s very clear it was the wrong call.

      • Buffalo Bill says:

        Just because a move leads to “more scenarios in which the Yankees lose the game” doesn’t mean it also “increases the likelihood that the Yankees lose the game”. You have to consider the probabilities in aggregate rather than quantity. Yes, there were a signficantly greater number of possible plays that could have resulted in a Yankee loss. But each of those plays (outside of a hit by Jones) individually is not very likely, and the sum total also not very likely. How likely is it that an infielder would boot a routine ground ball? How likely is it that Soriano uncork a wild pitch, or Martin whiff for a passed ball? Each of those plays COULD happen, but even when you add them all up together it isn’t likely that any of them would. Or certainly less likely that Markakis would get a hit.

        It is a basic math equation. Likelihood of Markakis hit to outfield + Markakis hits a ball that results in an error that scores a run > Likelihood of any hit by Jones + balk + walk + wild pitch + passed ball + error. When you look at the quantity the equation is balanced. But the chances of an error/balk/WP/passed ball are really small. Soriano’s only thrown 3 WP since 2003, and he has NEVER committed a balk. Martin has had a dozen passed balls in over 350 games over the last 3 years. It just isn’t likely to happen. Errors are pretty rare, too. When you consider that those probabilities are very tiny, the equation basically becomes likelihood of Markakis getting a hit to the outfield > Likelihood of any hit from Jones + likelihood of Jones walking. If in a vacuum I asked you who would you rather face with Soriano on the mound in a critical moment, Jones or Markakis, my guess would be you would choose Jones. So did Joe.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Soriano had just walked a guy on four pitches BEFORE the IBB. I agree that it isn’t as black and white as some are assuming, but it most certainly DID increase the liklihood of a loss. This wasn’t Mo on the mound, it was Rafe.

    • Greg says:

      Entirely agree with this assessment. I think it is reasonable for one to assume that the probability of the O’s scoring via a Markakis hit was greater than any of the other possible scenarios mentioned. It is a debatable as to which probability you think is greater but certainly not a decision that would be termed stupid or irrational (like the third base coach sending Swisher with no outs and the heart of the lineup due up the night before).

  22. Annie Oakley says:

    The gritty and gutty CC gutted out a gritty performance last night. He didn’t have his best stuff but he kept his team in the ballgame and that’s all we can ask for. Jeter and Gardner have been the only consistent players. Swish and Grandy came up with one good swing. A-Rod and Teixera need to get going or they should be dropped in the lineup.

    Jogie absolutely deserves to be recognized and they should be retiring his number, but perhaps they’ll wait until Mo retires.

  23. Broll The American says:

    Did anyone see Jeter sitting with Swish and his arm over his shoulder after Swish’s HR? The guys in the booth seemed to think Jeter was congratulating him, but to me it seemed like Jeter was scolding him a bit. Maybe Jeter felt Swish was too exuberant in his post HR celebration? Anyone?

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      He was saying;

      1) Cut the Swagger Jagger

      or

      2) It’s not a walkoff and it’s April-act like you’ve done it before

      or

      3) Dude- awesome shot, you may be making as much as me in a year

  24. ptmilo says:

    I really dislike the “binderball” explanation of the Markakis intentional walk. Blithely generalized phrases like “never put the winning run on third base” are things that should come out of the pens of ignorant statphobic sportswriters, not enlightened open-minded analysts. Still, I don’t like the move by Girardi, mainly because it probably fails the more reasonable binderball tests.

    Let’s start with the fact that the specific match-up sample sizes were miniscule. Yes, Adam Jones was 0-6 against Soriano but he’d only struck out once. Markakis was 1-2 against Soriano with a strikeout and a single. Not very helpful. On the other hand, you have large sample sizes of the general platoon splits for all three guys. Let’s oversimplify and say the expected outcomes reflect the average between the pitcher and batter career platoon split for each guy.

    In that case, Adam Jones has about 29% chance of winning the game with the bases loaded and two outs. This includes errors and wild pitches (FYI Garcia threw as many wild pitches Tuesday as Soriano has in his career), and obviously all walks or better. As mentioned it averages Soriano’s career numbers against RHBs with Jones’ numbers against RHPs. It implies that Jones would have an OBP of around 0.277 against Soriano.

    Markakis is a little more complicated. His chance of winning the game outright is about 20%. This includes all 2B-HR, 70% of singles, and errors (again, average his results against RHB with Soriano’s against LHBs). In addition, he has another 15% chance to load the bases for Jones with a BB, HBP or single that fails to score Reimold. This just recreates Jones’ 29% chance to win the game and means that the total expected loss value of pitching to Markakis here is 20% + (.15*.29) = 24.3%. Plainly a preferred situation for the Yankees versus walking him intentionally to pitch to Jones.

    Obviously this isn’t the end of the story. Just because Girardi doesn’t have match-up sample size doesn’t mean he’s not allowed to have an opinion on the match-ups or the situation (of course, it’s ironic to accuse him of binderball for going with this kind of intuition). But there really aren’t reasonable match-up estimates that render this a good move. The fact is that across big sample sizes the disparity required to make this is good move is just extremely rare given the players’ overall platoon splits. On the other hand, it is very possible to imagine more extreme platoon combinations that would render walking Markakis the right move, as opposed to merely claiming that it is always a bad idea to put the winning run on third base.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.