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Lineup crystal ball: A-Rod has owned Jason Hammel over the years

Oct 12, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Matthew made a good point about the Yankees linuep last night. And all things being equal, damn, I don’t know that I could go with Alex Rodriguez in Game 5. He just looks totally lost up there.

But even if Matthew is right and Joe Girardi shouldn’t go with A-Rod, I have this feeling he will.  Why? Let’s ask my friend J.R. O’Grady:

Girardi gets crap for playing it by the book — or the binder — sometimes, but it’s not some unique quirk of his to play matchups like that.  Obviously the A-Rod we’re seeing now is not the same guy who beat up on Jason Hammel in the past, but those numbers make me think that Joe has the kind of cover to allow him to give his star third baseman a shot at redemption.

But really, there are no good decisions here. We can all second guess tonight’s lineup before the game and, if the Yankees lose, we will all certainly pile on Girardi.  But if you think that there is one obvious correct course of action here, you’re crazy.

  1. sdelmonte - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    My feeling is that you sink or swim with your best players. And I just can’t say that Eric Chavez is better than A-Rod.

    The only thing I would try is Ibanez in the lineup, if only because he’s the only guy who’s done squat at home so far. Otherwise, it’s really up to every other player to figure it out for himself. I don’t think that this version of the Yanks is all that great, but it’s better than we’ve seen this week, and surely someone in that group can find a spark. (Yeah, I’m still rooting against them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this game is not theirs for the taking with CC on the mound and just one or two hot bats.)

    • 18thstreet - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      If they’re not going to play A-Rod in playoff games (and he’s not hurt), the Yankees have to find a way to eat that contract, don’t they? A-Rod is not the player he was (see: http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=1274&position=3B/SS&page=2&type=full) but he’s still very good.

      This is a Red Sox fan talking, but the Yankees expect to play in October EVERY year. If A-Rod is not their 3rd baseman for the playoffs, what good is he?

  2. stoutfiles - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    If you’re going to play ARod, at least bat him 7th or 8th to get the pressure off of him.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      All that would do is serve to embarrass the guy, or “send him a message” that doesn’t really need sending. If there were guys in the 7-8-9 holes who were smacking the cover off the ball, by all means move them up. But there aren’t. I think any possible advantage gained by dropping ARod would be offset by the issues it would cause with such an obvious panic move.

  3. RickyB - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Looking for the tabloid headline of A-ROD-EMPTION tomorrow!

  4. number42is1 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    bat arod 7th and granderson 9th and someone tell cano that he doesnt have to try an hit a HR EVER MOTHERFUCKING AT BAT!

  5. cur68 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    My prediction (I know: you’ve all been waiting & praying for me to get up and provide a prediction. Well here it is…): ARod plays well but his hitting ultimately does not figure into the outcome, Jeets is Jeets (barely delivers but gets cheered like crazy) and Swisher/Granderson are the heros.

  6. Francisco (FC) - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    ARod will be in the lineup today, Folks. He’s hitting .364 off Hammel w/ 4 HR in 22 ABs lifetime.

    Is there a reason not to include the Postseason in those lifetime stats? I mean A-Rod HAS faced Hammel in this ALDS. He has no hits, 1K and 1 W for a grand total lifetime slash line of:
    .333/.448/.833

    However much of that production was between 2006-2008, an entire era in baseball terms. A more realistic take is this year’s regular season performance:

    .286/.444/.286 with 0 HR, 1 K, 2 BB.

    Add the postseason numbers:

    .222/.417/.222 with 0 HR, 2 K, 3 BB.

    And A-Rod looks much less impressive against Jason Hammel. I think it’s more accurate to say A-Rod USED to own Jason Hammel, now it’s the other way around.

    • ezthinking - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Except Chavez hasn’t gotten a hit since September and looks just as lost at the plate. His career postseason line doesn’t help either: .211/.256/.351

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Where in my post does it say Chavez is better? I’m just pointing out that using cherry picked A-Rod stats is a poor reason to state why he would go in the lineup.

        If Girardi starts A-Rod and justifies it by saying Chavez is even worse at the plate fine, but let’s not pretend it’s because of his awesome “Lifetime” hitting against Hammel.

    • Jeremy T - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      This year’s Hammel isn’t really the same pitcher as the Hammel of a few years ago, either. It was already too small of a sample to really be reliable, but given the way the two players have changed it’s almost completely useless. On the other hand, I don’t think the Yanks really have a better option on their bench, so the best they can do is move him down a few spots in the order and hope for the best.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Anyone on the Yankees with more than 10 ABs against Hammel is OPSing over .800 against him, except Ibanez. ARod, Ichiro and Swisher have OPS against over 1.000.

    At this point, the Yankee team is the Yankee team. Play the regulars (including ARod) and let Ibanez DH. The bigger question is if Martin can catch today after catching 26 innings the past 2 days. Might be a Chris Stewart day. My guess:

    Jeter SS
    Ichiro LF
    Teix 1B
    Cano 2B
    ARod 3B
    Ibanez DH
    Swisher RF
    Granderson CF
    Stewart C

  8. jayxz102 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    1. I get that its been a lot of innings for Martin, but I don’t think you can bench him Game 5, especially since he’s one of the few real threats in the line-up right now.

    2. How come Joe isn’t taking as much heat today as praise yesterday for NOT hitting for A-Rod in the 8th last night? If you don’t trust him the day before or in the 13th inning last night, why is the 8th inning any different when that could have clearly been the game? Obviously there’s no guarantee Ibanez/Chavez gets the job done, but I like their chances to put the ball in play better. Even if Buck counters with a lefty a) i still like their chances better b) there’s always Nunez who i trust to make contact too.

    • jayxz102 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Also, just to clarify, I’m not trying to hammer the “it’s all A-Rod’s fault” storyline, but clearly Joe has decided he no longer trusts him. Granderson looks lost against lefties and righties, but continues to get ABs. A-Rod at least can have a useful AB against a lefty. Assuming he goes Chavez at 3B tonight, is there any way Gardner gets the start in CF? It gives you two useful bats on the bench (Arod, Granderson) for match up purposes if needed late in the game. I just have more faith in Garner putting the ball in play and legging out a hit than Granderson getting lucky and popping one tonight. He looks too lost right now. Thoughts?

  9. jayscarpa - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Gawdawful hitting. Both sides. Ugly.

  10. Kyle - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    22 ABs lol

  11. begoodharry - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Craig, there is an obvious course. You gave it in your discussion. ARod looks lost up there! You can’t afford to play him in a decisive game. Why is this so hard?

  12. cdeangelus - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Here is how ego affects a team, and can cause it to lose games.

    Last night, A-Rod got benched for Chavez in the 13th, with 2 outs. At that point in the game, your hope is that you run into one, put it over the wall, tie the game, and reset the situation. A-Rod has the 5th most home runs *of all time.* And in a homer-or-go-home situation, Girardi says “I don’t think you’re my man to hit a home run.” That’s a complete loss of confidence.

    This is important to remember when you think back to teh 8th inning at bat: 2nd and 3rd, one out, A-Rod up. You can do almost anything there but strike out/pop up. A ground ball, while bad, at least gives you a CHANCE. Hell, even a popup can be dropped. This is the point you pinch hit for A-Rod. If you don’t think he has it in him in the 13th, you didn’t magically come to that conclusion in the extra innings of the game. You knew about it beforehand. Why did Girardi leave him in there? For a redemption moment. So that A-Rod could have a shot at making up for his missed opportunities, become a hero, etc.

    Instead, A-Rod had the ugliest at-bat of the game. Sub-Granderson. It was horrific and embarassing and ultimately fatal. And it happened because Girardi felt A-Rod needed a redemptive moment. He left him in there in the 8th for his ego. If A-Rod wasn’t good enough in the 13th, he wasn’t good enough in the 8th. Girardi is simply poorly managing here. He’s letting contracts cloud his judgement.

  13. mike5606 - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I think a-rod was taken outta the game last night with 2 outs in the 13th so he wouldn’t add to his total of strikeouts to end a postseason game.

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