Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Letter To Joe Girardi

Dear Mr. Girardi,
Last night was very nearly incredibly awesome. A 5 run comeback in the 9th inning would have been a monumental achievement and the best comeback victory in a season with 40 of them already. It would have returned the favor to the Rangers, who got quite lucky to string together a 5 run rally without making an out themselves in the 4th inning (which it might surprise you to learn, didn't include a bunt attempt). But last night was not awesome. It was incredibly frustrating.

You see, Joe, last night my roommates and I decided to take the plunge and buy a new TV. Big Willie Style's 32" had been holding down the mantle in the interim and it was time to get serious about our new place.

After a long day, we drove to Boscov's at around 8:30 and then to Sears, intent on acquiring one before the stores closed at 9:30. We very nearly bought this 42" LG for $700, but they didn't have it in stock. After a serious amount of deliberating, we decided to go with this 46" Samsung which was priced at $1200 on the shelf but after the 10% discount I got for opening a Sears card (which I'm literally never going to use after this purchase) it was $1166 after taxes. No interest or payments for 6 months to boot. Not bad. Am I right, Joe? Or perhaps you might have gone with the 24 months of free financing, since that's what "the book" on buying TVs says.

After we got the TV loaded in the van, it was about 9:50 and we turned on the game just in time to John and Suzyn called Michael Young's two run homer in the 7th inning. Great. On the way home we listened to the radio duo swoon over Neftali Feliz and compare him to Joba as he touched 100 on the radar gun (101 according to pitch f/x). We arrived back at the apartment and set up the new toy just in time for the top of the ninth.

We cracked a few Dogfish Head Immort Ales to celebrate and watched as Damaso Marte work a pretty solid inning in amazing 1080i resolution. Predictably, we marveled at the new awesomeness of our new TV, which fit on top of our mantle like the stand had been custom made for it.

Then the 9th inning came, Joe. Remember it? After the Yankees sent six straight runners to the plate without making an out, you decided to give one away by asking a guy who is terrible a bunting to do something, which even if he was successful at, would have hurt the team's chances at winning. The run expectation actually declines when you go from men on first and second with no outs to runners on second and with one down. Take a look.

Furthermore, Frank Francisco had already walked A-Rod and thrown fewer than half of his pitches for strikes. You took away Nick Swisher's excellent ability to work a walk by having him bunt in that spot. Did you see Francisco's first pitch? It was at fucking eye level. How do not make that guy throw strikes?

You asked a guy to bunt who can't bunt to set the table for a guy who is worse than 50% at getting the runner in from third with less than 2 outs. It's a stupid move in principle and it was even dumber under these circumstances.

And when it failed completely, you stormed around in the dugout like a fucking 4 year old because your fucking boneheaded decision didn't work out.

In all fairness, I stormed around my apartment at the same time, but I was acting like at least an 8 year old.

So thanks, Joe. It could have been one of the best TV Christenings in the history of mankind. But as soon as you started meddling and overmanaging, the whole thing went to shit.

Yes, right THERE. In the highest possible leverage situation.

I'm not blaming Melky Cabrera for lining into a double play, Joe. The entire situation would have been different if you let Nick Swisher take a full swing at the ball instead of conceding a precious out to a guy who could hardly throw a strike.

This is your fault.
Fuck you,

Fack Youk


  1. Amen. The Yankees need to impose an inning limit on Girardi. From now on he's not allowed to make a decision after the fifth. We'll win more games, promise.

  2. LOL. Fantastic suggestion, Grib. Let's see if we can get in touch with Cashman and make this happen.

  3. You should not be looking at run expectancy. You should be looking at WIN expectancy, as only one run was needed to extend the game.

  4. Second Grib's suggestion. Get Cashman on the phone.

  5. Amen, Jay. Grotesquely stupid decision to have Swish bunt. Francisco was primed to give away that game, all with no outs. That had gigantic comeback with big-time spillover momentum written all over it.

    Pathetic scarcely covers it.

  6. @SmartyBarrett
    That's a good point about win expectancy, but I think that's a little tougher to ferrett out. As the graph above shows, the failed bunt had a WPA of -19%. Aside from Melky's game ending double play, it was the single most disastrous Yankee play of the game in terms of WPA. I'm not sure what the WPA would have been had the bunt been successful, but given the way WPA/WE works and that it would have given up an out without yielding a run, I'm sure it still would have been negative, just not quite as severely so.

    BTW - when I heard there was beating in Boston over the weekend that involved a pack of guys in tuxedos, I feared something had gone horribly, horribly wrong at HZMLS's wedding. Glad to find out that wasn't the case.

    As for the play in general, that was a bad bad move last night. In principle, I feel bunting has its place in the game. However, last night was not the time. Francisco couldn't buy a strike. Swisher is an extremely patient hitter. Why take the bat of of his hands then? Why take it out of his hands when he's not a very good bunter to begin with? Why do it when Melky Cabrera - despite his penchant for walk offs - was on deck and has been ice cold since his cycle 3+ weeks ago?

    I'm a vocal critic of Girardi. I don't want to see him hung over last night's decision. I don't want to say that he's a horrible manager, because he isn't. I don't want to complain when the overall state of affairs right now is pretty damn good.

    I don't think there's an awful lot a manager can or can't do to affect the outcome of a game. All I ask is that he put his players in a position to succeed and that he make the best possible decision based on the information at hand. In asking Swish to bunt last night Girardi failed at both.

    What's particularly bothersome (as Jay has pointed out) is that such decisions seem common with Girardi. It's almost as if he'd rather make a move to put his stamp on the game rather than make it because it's the right move. He's done a lot of things this year that have been either extremely unorthodox or overly dedicated to "doing it by the book", e.g. matching up relievers in a six run game. And almost invariably, these moves have failed. Stop trying to show how fucking smart you are and just start making the smart move.

    /end needlessly long comment

  7. While I thought last night's move was horrible, and I do disagree with Girardi about a bunch of things, I tend to like his moves more often than not. I still feel that he has managed the team very well the last couple of years and I am happy with how he has replaced the very hard to replace Joe Torre.