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. Report: Cubs have looked into signing Rafael Soriano

    May 21, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    The Cubs are reportedly one of several teams who have looked into signing Soriano.

  2. Coco Crisp got “disheartening news” about his neck injury

    May 21, 2015, 11:03 PM EDT

    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 17:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics runs the bases against the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum on May 17, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Coco Crisp left Tuesday’s game with tightness in his neck and it sounds like he’s going to need to miss some time.

  3. Ben Revere says he’s not bothered by trade speculation

    May 21, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 29: Ben Revere #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds third base in an attempt to score a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on April 29, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Phillies have reportedly talked to the Angels about a deal involving Revere.

  4. Brewers reliever Will Smith ejected from game due to having foreign substance on arm

    May 21, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    in action against the at Citi Field on May 17, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Brewers 5-1. Getty Images

    Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected from Thursday’s game against the Braves in the bottom of the seventh inning after he was found to have a foreign substance on his non-throwing arm.

  5. Masahiro Tanaka throws three scoreless innings in minor league rehab start

    May 21, 2015, 9:03 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees works out prior to the Yankees baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Masahiro Tanaka took his first step toward rejoining the Yankees rotation tonight by tossing three scoreless innings in a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

  6. Video: Ryan Howard launches his ninth home run

    May 21, 2015, 8:01 PM EDT

    DENVER, CO - MAY 20:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated in the dugout by Manager Ryne Sandberg of the Philadelphia Phillies after he hit a solo home run during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 20, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Howard homered in back-to-back games at Coors Field and is now up to nine home runs on the season.

  7. Yan Gomes on track to be activated from disabled list Sunday

    May 21, 2015, 7:12 PM EDT

    yan gomes getty Getty Images

    Yan Gomes has been sidelined since April 11 due to an MCL sprain in his right knee.

  8. Dodgers suspend Erisbel Arruebarrena for rest of season for failing to comply with contract

    May 21, 2015, 6:28 PM EDT

    Erisbel Arruebarrena AP

    Back in 2013 the Dodgers signed Arruebarrena to a five-year, $25 million deal.

  9. Shane Victorino scratched from Thursday’s lineup with calf issue

    May 21, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT

    Shane Victorino Shane Victorino

    Victorino is dealing with general soreness which is “centralized somewhat” in his left calf.

  10. Madison Bumgarner hit a homer off of Clayton Kershaw

    May 21, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 4.59.51 PM

    Ace vs. Ace. Advantage: Bumgarner.

  11. Jacob deGrom tosses a gem, Lucas Duda hits two homers in Mets win

    May 21, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 3.44.59 PM AP

    He struck out 11 dudes in eight shutout innings.

  12. Justin Morneau still has concussion symptoms, not ready to rejoin Rockies

    May 21, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Justin Morneau Rockies AP

    Morneau’s career was previously derailed by concussions when he was with the Twins.

  13. Who really owns a home run ball?

    May 21, 2015, 1:28 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.36.30 PM

    Pedro Alvarez hit a ball out of PNC Park the other day. It landed in a boat. Then some guy came along and took it. Whose ball is it and was the law broken?

  14. Ron Washington officially hired by the Athletics

    May 21, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT

    Ron Washington Getty Images

    Washington coached in Oakland from 1996-2006.

  15. The St. Paul Saints’ new ballpark is fantastic

    May 21, 2015, 11:22 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.21.30 AM

    Best part: its modern, non-retro design.

  16. Cardinals activate Jaime Garcia from the disabled list for his season debut

    May 21, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Jaime Garcia Getty Getty Images

    Shoulder problems have derailed Jaime Garcia in three straight seasons.

  17. Tim Lincecum shuts down Dodgers, lowers ERA to 2.08

    May 21, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Tim Lincecum Giants Getty Images

    After three straight rough seasons in which he went 32-38 with a 4.76 ERA, two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is shutting lineups down again.

  18. The story behind the Nationals squirting chocolate syrup on each other after big wins

    May 21, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Nationals chocolate Getty Images

    One not-so-fun thing: it creates a LOT of extra work for the clubhouse attendants.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Travis (3152)
  2. H. Ryu (2926)
  3. J. Reyes (2924)
  4. C. Dickerson (2842)
  5. D. Wright (2786)