Joe Girardi’s Message to His Team: Support A-Rod

Giardi made sure his team stuck up for A-Rod.

Giardi made sure his team stuck up for A-Rod.

It was coming at some point. The hatred for Alex Rodriguez is palpable throughout all of baseball. Players hate that their MLBPA dollars are going to his defense. And with the Red Sox and Yankees playing this weekend, it was all but certain that A-Rod would get plunked at least once. After two clean games, Ryan Dempster took it upon himself to take up the task. In the second inning, with no one out and no one on base, Dempster threw the first pitch behind Rodriguez’s back, then threw two more balls and, with a 3-0 count, hit him in the back. Sox manager John Farrell can claim otherwise as much as he wants, but the pitch was certainly intentional.

Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora warned both teams immediately, but did not eject Dempster. The benches briefly cleared, but the players never came together. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was incensed. He got in O’Nora’s face, screaming at the umpire and throwing his hat in disgust. Girardi was quickly ejected, but his point was clear: Alex Rodriquez is a member of the New York Yankees and players stick up for their teammates. After rumors surfaced last week that A-Rod had turned over evidence that implicated other MLB players in the Biogenesis scandal, including teammate Francisco Cervelli, it was fair to wonder how even his own teammates would treat him. Rodriguez has always been an outcast in the clubhouse, but if he had snitched on a teammate, would players even support him when he inevitably got beaned?

The answer is yes. The dugouts and bullpens cleared briefly, but the main action was Girardi’s tirade against O’Nora. He knew Dempster hit A-Rod on purpose and wanted the Sox starter ejected from the game. But the real reason for his explosion was to show his team that no matter what A-Rod has done, he’s still the starting third basemen for the New York Yankees and as such, they will defend him. They can ignore him in the clubhouse and after the game, but on the diamond, teammates protect each other. Period. Girardi sent that message loud and clear.


Why Are The Yankees So Much Better in Day Games

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have a bunch of stuff up on the Washington Monthly‘s site and if you click the page to the right, all the links to my articles are there. I’ll also be guest blogging a bit this week at Ryan Cooper’s site ( so check that out as well.

But this is just a quick one on a theme I’ve begun to notice more and more: the Yankees win an unusually high percentage of their day games. It’s not just that they win say 60 percent of them, which wouldn’t be that abnormal given how many games they win in a season. But they win a huge percentage every year. Check it out:

If you continue back a few years, the trend generally continues though it is not quite as clear cut. Except for in 2009, the Yankees have won a much higher percent of their day games each year than their overall record (which is skewed upwards by those day games as well). In fact, the Yankees have won 65.5% of their day games since 2008. That’s a huge percent.

My question is, why? I don’t understand why the Yankees play so much better in day games. Anyone have an explanation? Have their pitchers just happened to line up well for the past half-decade? Do they play more home day games each year? It’s a large enough sample that I doubt that’s the case, but it’s worth checking in to. Either that, or the Yankees have figured out something about day games that other teams haven’t

Yankees Are A Different Team Night and Day

The Yankees are 28-5 during the day. They are just 28-33 at night.

So the Yankees have as many wins during the day as night though they’ve played 28 fewer day games! What gives?

I dug into this a little more. The Yankees top three pitchers, Sabathia, Burnett and Garcia, have each started seven day games. The Yankees were 18-3 in those games, including 7-0 when Sabathia took the hill. Ivan Nova, the Yankees number five guy, has made just three day game starts (the Yankees are 3-0 in those however). This is probably just a strange coincidence but when you’re number 1-3 pitchers start 21 day games and the number five guy starts just three, you’re certainly going to win more than you lose.

Of course, the Yankees have done more than just stay above .500 during day games. They’ve won 84.8 percent of those games! They’ve given up just 2.91 runs per game while scoring 5.64 and are a total of +90 during the 33 games. Seventeen of the games were at home while 16 were on the road, a very even split (only one loss came at home).

As a team, the Yankees have a .279 batting average and .831 OPS during the day.

But this is where New York should get concerned. During night games, the Yanks are batting just .247. A .247 team average would rank 22nd in all of the majors.

For the rest of the season, the Yankees play 22 of their 68 remaining games during the day. If their winning percentage at night and during the day continues as it is, they’ll win about 40 of their remaining 62 games (18.7 of the 22 day games, 21.1 of the remaining 46 night games).

That will leave them with 96 wins and likely the AL Wild Card berth. Good right?

Well, maybe not. It’s World Series or bust for the Bronx Bombers and if they can’t win at night, they aren’t going to be the last ones left standing come October. Just two of the Yanks nine playoff games last year were day games (and they were both 4:07 games). During their 2009 title run, New York played just one of its 15 games during the day (a 4:07 start as well).

In the postseason, there aren’t many day games and the Yankees play in less than their fair share of those so MLB can put them on primetime. If New York can’t find a way to win at night, they’re going to struggle come October.

For more in depth information on the Yankees day games, click here.