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. Dellin Betances broke a Mariano Rivera record

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    dellin betances getty Getty Images

    Yankees setup man Dellin Betances has broken a franchise record that Mariano Rivera set in 1996.

  2. Video: Rusney Castillo notches his first major league hit

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:43 PM EDT

    rusney castillo getty Getty Images

    Watch as new Red Sox outfielder collects the first hit of his major league career Wednesday night at PNC Park on a hot shot that Pirates second baseman Neil Walker couldn’t quite handle …

  3. Phillies have “legitimate interest” in Yasmani Tomas

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

    yasmani tomas cuba getty Getty Images

    CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury hears that Phillies have “legitimate interest” in signing Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas, whose price tag is expected to top $100 million.

  4. Brewers intend to exercise their half of a $14 million 2015 mutual option on Aramis Ramirez

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    aramis ramirez getty Getty Images

    Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Brewers intend to exercise their half of a $14 million mutual option on Aramis Ramirez for the 2015 season. But will the veteran third baseman exercise his half?

  5. Derek Jeter snaps 0-for-28 slump

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

    Derek Jeter AP AP

    His worst career slump remains 0-for-32 in 2004.

  6. Carlos Beltran excused from Yankees for family issue

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:23 PM EDT

    carlos beltran getty Getty Images

    Carlos Beltran has been excused from the Yankees to deal with a private family matter, according to MLB.com beat reporter Bryan Hoch, with manager Joe Girardi saying Wednesday afternoon that the veteran will be given “as much time as he needs.”

  7. Video: Matt Duffy hits pinch-hit two-run single, Giants now within two games of Dodgers

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:41 PM EDT

    matt duffy getty Getty Images

    Watch as Matt Duffy smacks this pinch-hit two-run single in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday at Arizona’s Chase Field to put the Giants ahead of the Diamondbacks for good …

  8. Ryan Raburn to undergo knee surgery

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

    Raburn parlayed a very productive season in a part-time role with the Indians last year into a two-year deal, but he hit just .200 with four homers and a .547 OPS in 74 games.

  9. Dioner Navarro out of Blue Jays’ lineup with dizziness

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen, Dioner Navarro Casey Janssen, Dioner Navarro

    After playing fewer than 100 games in each of the previous four years Navarro has had a solid season as Toronto’s primary catcher, hitting .282 with 12 homers and a .734 OPS in 131 games at age 30.

  10. Michael Wacha cleared to return Saturday vs. Reds

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM, the Cardinals have cleared right-hander Michael Wacha to return to the starting rotation this Saturday evening against the visiting Reds.

  11. Twins closer Glen Perkins unavailable due to neck injury

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT

    Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

    Perkins had a 2.44 ERA with just two homers allowed and a 64/9 K/BB ratio in his first 55 innings, but in his last eight appearances he’s given up 10 runs–including five homers–in 6.1 innings for a 14.21 ERA and .429 opponents’ batting average.

  12. Marlins officially shut down Giancarlo Stanton for the season

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    giancarlo stanton getty Getty Images

    Stanton, who hit .288 with a league-leading 37 homers and a league-leading .950 OPS before the injury, will end up missing the final 17 games of the season.

  13. The Dodgers are not having a good day

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Forget it, Jake. It’s Colorado.

  14. Mark Teixeira is back in the Yankees’ lineup

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT

    Mark Teixeira Getty Getty Images

    After a solid first half Teixeira has batted .179 with 43 strikeouts in 42 games since the All-Star break.

  15. Charles Barkley’s ceremonial first pitch went poorly

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Charles Barkley

    Still not as bad as his golf swing.

  16. Marcus Stroman gets a six-game suspension

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:53 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman AP

    Good to see MLB make the smart call and suspend Stroman for headhunting.

  17. Got four minutes? See all 211 of Jose Altuve’s hits

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Jose Altuve Getty Getty Images

    Altuve is on pace for the most hits in a season since …

Featured video

Orioles turn AL East on its head
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3843)
  2. R. Castillo (2987)
  3. A. Rizzo (2434)
  4. A. Pujols (2108)
  5. H. Ryu (2071)
  1. E. Gattis (2056)
  2. C. Davis (1890)
  3. B. Belt (1881)
  4. J. Hamilton (1874)
  5. C. Young (1792)