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. Bryce Harper walks in all four of his plate appearances, scores four runs

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:04 PM EDT

    FILE - In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper pauses in the dugout during a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park in Washington. Mike Trout turned 24 on Friday, and he and Bryce Harper could become the youngest pair of MVPs in major league history if they win this year.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) AP

    Bryce Harper didn’t have an official at-bat tonight, but he still made a major impact in the Nationals’ 15-1 blowout victory over the Braves.

  2. Marcus Stroman is getting closer to rejoining the Blue Jays

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

    Stroman threw 4 2/3 hitless innings in his first minor league rehab start.

  3. Jose Iglesias exits game after being hit in hand while trying to bunt

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    jose iglesias

    Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias was forced to exit Thursday’s game against the Royals in the third inning when he was hit in the hand while trying to drop down a bunt.

  4. Corey Seager starting at shortstop and batting eighth in MLB debut Thursday

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:50 PM EDT

    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: Corey Seager #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 28, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Dodgers called up top prospect Corey Seager today and manager Don Mattingly isn’t wasting any time getting him into the starting lineup…

  5. Daniel Murphy day-to-day with mild quad strain

    Sep 3, 2015, 8:46 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 16:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets reacts after he is out at first to tend the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 16, 2015 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the New York Mets 8-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Murphy had a stint on the disabled list earlier this season due to a left quad strain.

  6. Stephen Strasburg expected to return for series against Mets next week

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT

    Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP

    Strasburg left his most recent start on Sunday with discomfort in his upper back, but he’s on track to make his return for a crucial series against the Mets next week.

  7. Andrew McCutchen is battling some Achilles tightness

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a solo-home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Dan Haren during the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

    McCutchen feels “a little sore” and has been “hobbling around a little bit,” so he’ll take a rest before a big series against the Cardinals this weekend.

  8. ESPN pulls Curt Schilling off broadcasts for rest of regular season and Wild Card game

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:13 PM EDT

    Curt Schilling AP

    ESPN has pulled Schilling from their broadcasts for the remainder of the season.

  9. Rival scout says he’s really impressed with what the Phillies have done this year

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

    Ruben Amaro Jr. Ruben Amaro Jr.

    Sentiments like these — of which I’ve seen a few — makes me wonder about Ruben Amaro.

  10. Matt Harvey is expected to take his next turn

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    Matt Harvey Matt Harvey

    He was suffering from dehydration yesterday.

  11. David Ortiz tweets his happiness about the Deflategate decision

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Getty Images

    Finally, Tom Brady and Boston sports fans get a win!

  12. Tim Lincecum’s career with the Giants is likely over

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

    Tim Lincecum Getty Getty Images

    Shut down for the season with a hip injury.

  13. David Ortiz is more likely to be boned in Hall of Fame voting for being a DH than for PED stuff

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT

    David Ortiz Getty Images

    Not that either of those things are valid reasons to keep a guy out of the Hall of Fame.

  14. Dodgers calling up No. 1 prospect Corey Seager for MLB debut

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT

    Corey Seager Dodgers AP

    Considered by many to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

  15. And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:55 AM EDT

    Clayton Kershaw AP

    Clayton Kershaw strikes out 15 as the Dodgers sweep the Giants.

  16. Video: Justin Turner pulls off a slick slide at second base

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:12 AM EDT

    Justin Turner AP

    Justin Turner was going to be out by a mile on this ill-advised stolen base attempt in the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, but he got a little creative …

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Ramirez (2418)
  2. G. Stanton (2375)
  3. G. Springer (2362)
  4. C. Correa (2324)
  5. J. Baez (2309)