Skip to content

Joe Girardi goes down with his hand-picked nine

Oct 17, 2012, 12:07 AM EDT

Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman Getty Images

Benched sluggers Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher never budged, and lefty Phil Coke was allowed to face three left-handers and switch-hitter Mark Teixeira in escaping the ninth inning of Detroit’s 2-1 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.

Coke replaced Justin Verlander after the ace’s 132nd pitch retired Brett Gardner for the first out of the ninth. Ichiro Suzuki was due up with none on, and he’d be followed by Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez.

Coke retired Suzuki, only to give up a single to Teixeira when he couldn’t get his glove up fast enough to grab the one-hopper up the middle. Cano followed with another single in a lefty-lefty matchup, snapping his 0-for-29 skid.

That brought up Ibanez, the Yankees’ postseason hero to date. The problem there is that Ibanez hit .197/.246/.246 in 61 at-bats against lefties this season. He came in at .211/.232/.353 in 133 at-bats against them last year.

Pinch-hitting A-Rod for Ibanez was an option, but it certainly would have led to the Tigers countering with Joaquin Benoit. Which probably would have led to switch-hitter Nick Swisher replacing A-Rod. So, if the Yankees were going to do anything, they probably would have just inserted Swisher in the first place and allowed the Tigers to make their pick of Coke or Benoit.

Was that preferable to Ibanez versus Coke? Well, the season stats say yes and that it’s not close. Swisher hit .270/.380/.389 against lefties and .273/.356/.517 against righties this year. He was also far more successful than Ibanez away from Yankee Stadium this year (Ibanez hit .208 with just five of his 19 homers in road games this season). That said, Swisher is ice cold and he’s had very little success in limited pinch-hitting opportunities in his career. Pinch-hitting isn’t easy; AL pinch-hitters batted .206 this year. It’s not really so clear cut.

So, I’m not going to find fault with Girardi’s in-game strategy after questioning his pregame moves earlier. There’s no real shame in getting shut down by the league’s best starter, even if he wasn’t quite at his best tonight. The game may well have unfolded the same way had Rodriguez and Swisher started, though it doesn’t look great for Girardi that Gardner and Eric Chavez went 0-for-7 in their place.

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers place Jake Smolinski on the disabled list

    Jul 25, 2014, 5:19 PM EDT

    Jake Smolinski Rangers AP

    Career minor leaguer Jake Smolinski got a chance in Texas because of the Rangers’ never-ending injuries and took advantage by hitting .389 in 11 games, but now he’s headed to their crowded disabled list with a bone bruise in his foot.

  2. Five teams are showing interest in Matt Kemp

    Jul 25, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Matt Kemp Getty Getty Images

    No word on whether the Dodgers are one of them.

  3. David Ortiz returns to Red Sox lineup after back injury

    Jul 25, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    David Ortiz AP

    Presumably enough time has passed for some of the animosity to fade, but Ortiz’s at-bats will definitely be worth watching tonight.

  4. Chris Capuano will make his Yankees debut Saturday

    Jul 25, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Getty Getty Images

    Acquired from the Rockies yesterday for cash considerations, left-hander Chris Capuano will join the Yankees’ rotation and make his debut Saturday versus the Blue Jays.

  5. Ryan Howard is riding the pine once again

    Jul 25, 2014, 3:14 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

    Tonight makes sense. Yesterday’s benching still makes none.

  6. A’s acquire Deck McGuire from Blue Jays

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    deck mcguire blue jays Getty Images

    McGuire was the 11th overall pick in 2010 and his pro career got off to a good start, but he’s struggled against more experience competition and has an ERA above 5.00 between Double-A and Triple-A.

  7. Injury disclosures loom large for future MLB drafts

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

    Lucas Giolito AP AP

    Issues caused by pre-existing injuries could lead to more disagreements, such as the one between Brady Aiken and the Astros that was played out on a public stage.

  8. Mets willing to cover $2 million of Bartolo Colon’s contract in trade

    Jul 25, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT

    Bartolo Colon Bartolo Colon

    At age 41 he’s at risk to break down, but Colon has a 2.98 ERA in his last 12 starts with a 62/14 K/BB ratio and .217 opponents’ batting average in 85 innings.

  9. How’d he do that? Magician Maddux fooled hitters all the way to Hall

    Jul 25, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    A multiple exposure shows Atlanta Braves Greg Madd Getty Images

    Greg Maddux was a magician on the mound, and now he’s going to the Hall of Fame, writes Joe Posnanski.

  10. Jimmy Rollins’ $11 million option for 2015 will vest tonight

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

    Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    Rollins also has the ability to block any potential trade, so even if contending teams think having him locked into place for 2015 adds to their interest level it may be a moot point.

  11. HBT Daily: The induction of Maddux, Glavine and Thomas is a rebuke to the Steroid Era

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

    Frank Thomas

    They are obviously deserving of induction, but their induction also serves some political ends too.

  12. First impressions of a skinny kid named Greg Maddux

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Greg Maddux

    Greg Maddux looked like a guy who should be riding a Metra commuter train to his 9-to-5 job in the Loop, maybe sneaking out later to catch a Cubs game and have a few beers at Wrigley Field.

  13. Ruben Amaro denies that the Phillies have considered releasing Ryan Howard

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Getty Images

    OK, we’ll just accept that you have not at least talked about taking one of the few options you have regarding Howard, Ruben.

  14. Kyle Gibson “doubtful” to make Saturday start due to back injury

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Kyle Gibson Twins Getty Images

    Kyle Gibson has had an up-and-down first full season for the Twins and now he may wind up on the disabled list with a back injury.

  15. Mariners call up Triple-A shortstop Chris Taylor to push struggling Brad Miller

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Brad Miller AP

    After a huge spring training that won him the Mariners’ starting shortstop job Brad Miller has struggled mightily, hitting .205 with a .599 OPS and 74/25 K/BB ratio in 86 games.

  16. Brandon Belt is showing no improvement

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT

    brandon belt getty Getty Images

    Injuries are mounting for the first place Giants.

  17. Must-click link: Johnny Damon seems lost without baseball

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:34 AM EDT

    damon ap AP

    A great, great ballplayer seems to be in denial about his career being over.

  18. Joe Nathan makes the case to keep his job

    Jul 25, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.45.19 AM AP

    With Joakim Soria watching from the sidelines, the Tigers embattled closer shuts down one of the best offenses in baseball.

Featured video

Three legends off to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3555)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (3374)
  3. R. Howard (2929)
  4. C. Headley (2904)
  5. H. Ramirez (2807)
  1. Y. Puig (2797)
  2. B. Belt (2720)
  3. C. Lee (2543)
  4. M. Trout (2491)
  5. J. Soria (2261)