4/04/2008 01:10:00 PM

Joe Girardi's National League Yankees

Posted by Mark McCray |

From Mark Feinsand and his Blogging The Bomber's Blog:

4/4/08- Well, not exactly-- but Joe Girardi is certainly making his presence felt in the American League.

Back-to-back bunts, playing the infield in with a guy on third in the fourth inning it was a successful first series for the Yankees, capped off by a very un-Yankee-like win.

Now, let’s not revise history and say that Joe Torre never called a bunt. He may have done the exact same thing tonight in the eighth, but the infield-in call in the fourth was what caught my attention.

In a scoreless game with a man on third, one out and the middle of the Jays order coming up, Girardi brought the infield in, not wanting to concede a run on a ground ball.

Interesting thought, especially with the way the Jays pitched this week and the cold weather impacting the Yankees’ offense. Alex Rios hit a single that would have been a hit no matter where the infield was playing, but when Rios reached third base on a steal and an error, Girardi brought the infield in again.

“It’s not something that you’re going to do very often, but when runs are at a premium, the weather, the pitcher you’re facing, you don’t want to give them easy RBIs,” he said. “You want to make them work for it.”

As for the bunts in the eighth that led to the winning run, let’s also note that Girardi would have approached the inning differently if it had been A-Rod and Giambi due up instead of Damon and Jeter. Once Damon’s bunt was bobbled by Scott Downs and it was first and second with no outs, Jeter’s bunt was an obvious call. Either way, Girardi is showing that he’s prepared to do whatever is necessary to win, and the players are buying into it.

“Especially against tough pitching staffs where one run can be the difference, we’re going to have to do that kind of thing,” Damon said. “We plan to be in most of our ballgames this year, so if we can get an extra run or two across, it’s going to be huge.”


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