"We're trying to get the tying run to third base," Girardi said. "Nick's been a good bunter for us all year and unfortunately he popped it up tonight."Really, Joe? Has he? Because he's hardly been a bunter at all during the rest of his career.
Including last night's botched attempt, Swisher has been asked to sacrifice bunt 4 times 471 plate appearances this year. In the other 2512 PAs in his career, he has completed 4 successfully. For some odd reason Joe Girardi has asked Swish to bunt at over 5 times the frequency of his previous managers. Perhaps his Ken Macha, Bob Geren and Ozzie Guillen were a little more realistic about his ability to get one down.
The only players who have been asked to bunt as much or more than Swisher this season are Francisco Cervelli, Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner, all of who have an OPS of roughly 100 points lower or more than Swish.
Using his averages from this year (which are very close to his career norms), there was a roughly 20-25% chance he could have won or tied the game with a hit and a 37% chance he could have at least moved the runner to third without using an out. Sure, there was a strong chance he left the Yanks in the same situation they found themselves in after he popped it up to Michael Young, but at least there was some upside to letting him swing. He might have advanced the runners anyway. If Jose Molina or Frankie Cervelli or Brett Gardner was up, it would have been a close decision. But not with a guy with 21 HRs and a .368 OBP is at the plate.
Joe Girardi just wanted to exert his influence and try to alter the outcome of the game like he so often does without a very good reason. Unfortunately for the team and it's fans, it backfired once again.