April 13, 2008

Overreaction To Girardi's Decision

In the bottom of the sixth inning yesterday, with Red Sox runners at second and third and two outs, and the Yankees holding a 2-1 lead, Joe Girardi and Mike Mussina decided to see if Manny Ramirez would chase a pitch low and away.

Mussina:
He asked me who I felt better with and I said I feel the same with both guys. Youkilis usually gets good at-bats against me, and if I walk Manny and load the bases, I'm putting myself in a tight spot where I have to throw strikes.
If Mussina fell behind, then he'd put Manny on base intentionally anyway and deal with Yook. Mussina's first pitch was not low and away -- it tailed back over the plate and Ramirez bashed it for a two-run double. It gave Boston a 3-2 lead, Ramirez scored three pitches later, and the Red Sox went on to win 4-3.

Mussina:
Results always make you second-guess. If Youkilis had gotten the hit, we would have still been standing here having the same discussion, wouldn't we? The strategy wasn't necessarily wrong; I just made a bad pitch.
At least two writers compared Girardi's "mistake" in not intentionally walking Ramirez immediately to the worst managerial blunder in Red Sox history.

Jim Donaldson, Journal:
What in the name of Bill James was Grady Joe Girardi Little thinking?

Two out, two on, and first base open in the bottom of the sixth inning, his New York Yankees clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez coming to the plate, and a tiring Mike Mussina on the mound.

What to do?

You walk Ramirez, of course.

Unless, that is, you are Grady Joe Girardi Little. ...
Michael Silverman, Herald:
The decision by Mike Mussina, manager Joe Girardi and whoever else offered their two cents in deciding to pitch to Ramirez with first base open, runners on second and third and the Yankees up by one run, will go down as one of their worst all season.

Doesn't anyone remember Grady Little around here anymore?
Whaaaaaa? It was the 12th game of the season, not the next-to-last inning of Game 7 of a heated ALCS.

The decision backfired -- as decisions sometimes do -- and now both clubs are 6-6. With 150 games remaining in the regular season. If that was truly one of the Yankees' worst decisions of the season, the Red Sox's chances of winning the AL East are in serious trouble.

16 comments:

Jack Marshall said...

I agree. Lots of managers would pitch to Ramirez, especially those having to cling to team mythology that its starter is a quasi-ace, rather than a lifetime, underachieving,over-rated weenie who is on the fast-track to oblivion. It isn't what I would do, but it's defensible, especially with Youk's OBA.

The criticism also shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Little's unforgivable move, which was a failure of CHARACTER AND NERVE, not judgement. He abdicated his duty as manager, that's all, just left it to Pedro so he could argue that he "went down with his best," rather than make the move he had made throughout the play-offs and all season long in that situation. He was a coward under fire---it was deriliction of duty, nothing less. It pisses me off to see NY reporters make a comparison like this, because it minimizes Little's infamy.
And so did the Globe's comparing him to Buckner last week, by the way. Buckner put himself on the line, playing hurt. If the Sox fans ever forgive Grady, I'll be disgusted with them.

Amy said...

I was sure Girardi was telling Mussina to walk Manny and was pleasantly surprised when he didn't. But I agree--making a comparison to Grady Little in th 2003 ALCS is ridiculous. Any Red Sox fan who watched that game and saw Little leave Pedro in did not sleep at all that night and will likely never forget that moment; I am sure most Yankee fans went to sleep just fine last night despite the mistake and the loss of the game. Today they have already forgotten.

But NY wants to be number one in everything, even in having managers make mistakes.

redsock said...

A Post writer last year commented about a Yankee rally (5 runs or something) against the Red Sox and said that Sox fans and New England would be haunted by it -- cry about it daily! -- for the next 50 years.

Anyone remember the game?

...

If the Sox fans ever forgive Grady, I'll be disgusted with them.

Amen [in gazillion-point font that you could see with the unaided eye from the surface of the Moon]

redsock said...

Tried finding the Post quote (I know I made a post about it). No luck.

Could it have been 2006?

gary said...

Yes, comparing it to a decision made in a deciding playoff game is silly. But it was a the wrong decision, regardless of outcome, and if it had come in a deciding playoff game would certainly have been huge.

redsock said...

You can make a decent case for what Mussina wanted to do. He didn't want to automatically load the bases for a patient Yook -- though he was prepared to do that if Manny didn't go fishing.

Mussina missed with his pitch -- his 71st of the game -- and Ramirez was ready to club it. Like the Bigot said, if Yook comes thru, some people would say Girardi blew it and they should have faced Manny.

Problems for the MFY after that:

1. Bruney could not retire Yook, though he had him 0-2.

2. MDC fanned Molina to end the 7th with the tying run on second.

3. Bot whiffed Slappy (after the delay) to end the 8th with the tying run on second and go-ahead run on 1st.

9casey said...

I think the decision at the time was stupid ......don't even meet with your pitcher just show the catcher 4 fingers and then there is no talk about it.....You have to walk Manny there wheter its game 1 or game 162....


Amy said...
I was sure Girardi was telling Mussina to walk Manny and was pleasantly surprised when he didn't.


In that comment is Girardi's and Little's mistake the minute you walk out there you are asking the pitcher a question you already know the answer to, athletes are proud mo'fo's they are not going to say they can't do something......

9casey said...

redsock said...


Mussina missed with his pitch -- his 71st of the game -- and Ramirez was ready to club it. Like the Bigot said, if Yook comes thru, some people would say Girardi blew it and they should have faced Manny.


Who would have said that? Manny is a Hall of Famer and Mussina's control wasn't a problem all day.

redsock said...

Who would have said that?

"some people"

Amy said...

I remember that quote, but not the game. That means it was late last season, Allan, because I remember the discussion here, and I wasn't here til late August, as we recently researched. So...I would focus on September game posts for the quote.

Amy said...

Of course, your point was...none of us remember the game!

L-girl said...

they are not going to say they can't do something......

Essackly.

That's why you don't ask.

Jack Marshall said...

Unless you ask, say, Roger %$@$^*&! Clemens in the biggest game of his life whether his wittle fing-ee hurts too much to pitch another inning, in which case he says, "take me out of there!" and then denies it later after the team loses...

Patrick said...

All I know is that Manny is awesome and he carried us past the Yanks last night. God bless that silly man.

redsock said...

Actually, Gump did the same thing with the Napkin in ALDS 4 -- stuck with him way past the point he should have-- but the Sox came back won that one.

We now know that before the game Gump was ordered by Theo et al. to yank Pedro at 100 pitches or 7 innings, whichever came first. And he did not.

John Henry wanted to fire Gump after the 2002 season, but the FO majority ruled in that situation. During the infamous 8th inning, Henry turned to (I think) Theo: "Can we fire him now?"

Alright -- enough 2003.

Patriots Film said...

To my eyes, it was actually a decent pitch. I really thought manny reached out, he's just a great hitter. I'd be surprised if that ball was fully in the strike zone, and especially after last year, that's a good pitch to make to Manny (he had issues with outside pitches last year, as i recall).

Shit happens. Moose < Man-Ram. not at all the same as 2003.