Lindbergh: One weird trick to beat MLB batters

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer on July 26, 2019:

On August 4, 2015, in a game against the Red Sox in the Bronx, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a move so unorthodox that devoted an entire article to the incident. After starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed a leadoff homer in the top of the seventh, shrinking the Yankees’ lead to 4-3, Girardi called for lefty reliever Justin Wilson. That wasn’t the weird move. Wilson struck out Mike Napoli, allowed a Rusney Castillo single, got Blake Swihart to foul out, and went up 1-2 on Jackie Bradley Jr. This was the weird move: With Wilson one strike away from escaping the inning, Girardi trudged to the mound, took the ball from the surprised southpaw, and summoned righty reliever Dellin Betances.

“I think it’s odd just because it was in the middle of the at-bat,” Wilson said after the game. When asked to explain his motivation, the manager said only one word: “Strategy.”

What was Girardi’s strategy? Four years later, the former manager couldn’t be reached for comment, so his inscrutable statement stands. According to a member of the Yankees front office, though, his reasoning was more obvious than that secretive response suggested.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 26, 2019. Last Updated: July 26, 2019.