Skip to content

Joe Girardi goes down with his hand-picked nine

Oct 17, 2012, 12:07 AM EST

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. Video: Watch Matt Harvey’s return to action against the Tigers

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:35 PM EST

    Matt Harvey Matt Harvey

    Friday was Matt Harvey Day in Port St. Lucie, as the right-hander returned to game action for the first time since he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

  2. Report: Astros lowered their offer to Ryan Vogelsong following medical examination

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:45 PM EST

    Ryan Vogelsong Ryan Vogelsong

    The Astros didn’t like what they saw following Ryan Vogelsong’s medical examination, which is why they lowered their offer.

  3. Giants likely to fill Hunter Pence void with in-house candidates

    Mar 6, 2015, 6:55 PM EST

    Hunter Pence Hunter Pence

    Gregor Blanco will probably get the lion’s share of the available playing time with Hunter Pence absent for six to eight weeks.

  4. Jose Bautista is battling a minor hamstring injury

    Mar 6, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

    Jose Bautista; John Gibbons Jose Bautista; John Gibbons

    The Blue Jays have nothing to worry about with Jose Bautista, per manager John Gibbons.

  5. Spring training stats don’t matter . . . except when they do

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:48 PM EST

    Cleveland Indians v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    Most of them don’t. But there are some predictive stats to be found in spring training games. If you know where to look.

  6. Mat Gamel is still alive. The Yankees just signed him.

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:51 PM EST

    gamel getty Getty Images

    The once top prospect hasn’t played in the bigs since 2012.

  7. Casey Kotchman is making a comeback with the Royals

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Casey Kotchman AP

    Kotchman was the Angels’ first-round pick in 2001 and played 10 seasons in the majors for seven different teams, most recently with the Marlins in 2013.

  8. Daniel Murphy exits game after being plunked on the hand

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:40 PM EST

    Daniel Murphy AP AP

    Beaned on Tuesday, plunked on Friday. Not the best week for Murph.

  9. Rangers add bullpen help, sign Joe Beimel

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:20 PM EST

    Joe Beimel Getty Images

    Beimel pitched well for the Mariners last season, throwing 45 innings with a 2.20 ERA.

  10. Jonathan Lucroy is ahead of schedule in recovery from hamstring injury

    Mar 6, 2015, 1:49 PM EST

    Jonathan Lucroy Getty Getty Images

    Lucroy was initially given a 4-6 week recovery timetable on February 11, so he’s three-plus weeks in.

  11. Matt Harvey makes his return. And he was really impressive.

    Mar 6, 2015, 1:19 PM EST

    Matt Harvey

    He faced six batters and retired them all. And he cranked it up to 99 m.p.h.

  12. Josh Reddick strained his oblique muscle

    Mar 6, 2015, 12:39 PM EST

    josh reddick getty Getty Images

    He’s been injured the last two seasons. He’s not starting 2015 out much better.

  13. Hunter Pence and the pitcher who broke his arm chat on Twitter

    Mar 6, 2015, 11:31 AM EST

    Hunter Pence AP

    See, now that’s good sportsmanship in 2015!

  14. Tim Collins has ligament damage in his elbow

    Mar 6, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

    Tim Collins Getty Getty Images

    The pitchers are starting to drop. Here’s hoping we don’t get a rash of these like we did last year.

  15. Barry Zito’s first start in 19 months “was pretty impressive”

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:47 AM EST

    Barry Zito Getty Getty Images

    Barry Zito took the mound Thursday for his first game action since 2013.

  16. Tweet of the Day: Dan Uggla makes an appearance

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    Dan Uggla AP

    Reconnecting with old friends is always nice.

  17. White Sox release Tony Campana after torn ACL

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    Tony Campana Getty Images

    Campana signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox in November.

  18. There have been no contract extension talks between Jeff Samardzija and the White Sox

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:34 AM EST

    Jeff Samardzija AP

    Please make a note of it in whatever log or journal you happen to be keeping.

  19. Joey Votto: “I’m a different hitter than most.’

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:45 AM EST

    Joey Votto Getty Images

    Votto explains his approach to one of his biggest detractors.

  20. Peter Moylan signs a minor league deal with the Braves

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:08 AM EST

    Moylan.bmp

    The two-time Tommy John veteran reunites with the Braves.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3366)
  2. J. Hamilton (2907)
  3. D. Viciedo (2770)
  4. C. Gonzalez (2768)
  5. C. Sale (2706)