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. Chris Capuano designated for assignment by the Yankees

    Jul 29, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Yankees Getty Images

    Capuano failed to make it out of the first inning in Tuesday’s start.

  2. The Dodgers, Yankees and Blue Jays are poised for a “bidding war” over David Price

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    David Price AP

    At least to the extent you can have a bidding “war” over a two-month rental.

  3. Dodgers acquire Mat Latos and Michael Morse from Marlins

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT

    Mat Latos AP

    Oh, and the Marlins gave away a draft pick too.

  4. Curt Casali is having one heck of a week

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Curt Casali Getty Images

    Two homers, two games in a row and five in his last four games.

  5. Why do managers wear uniforms anyway?

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT

    Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

    And why on Earth did Bobby Cox wear a cup for every game? What was he possibly expecting?

  6. Drew Storen doesn’t sound happy about the Jonathan Papelbon acquisition

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    Drew Storen AP AP

    Saves = money for relief pitchers and Storen is gonna get a lot fewer saves now.

  7. And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 29, 2015, 7:28 AM EDT

    Yankees Getty Images

    Your mileage may vary, but for my money the ugliest game of the year happened last night.

  8. Henderson Alvarez undergoes shoulder surgery

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:22 PM EDT

    Henderson Alvarez AP

    Alvarez served as the Marlins’ Opening Day starter …

  9. Video: Jose Abreu awarded a home run after Mookie Betts flips into Fenway Park bullpen

    Jul 28, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Mookie Betts AP

    Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts tracked down a hardly hit ball from White Sox slugger Jose Abreu on Tuesday night but lost it when he fell into the bullpen …

  10. Red Sox retire Pedro Martinez’s number at Fenway Park

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    Pedro Martinez AP

    Martinez was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

  11. Astros “making a strong effort” for Phillies ace Cole Hamels

    Jul 28, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

    Hamels would join Dallas Keuchel and Scott Kazmir in an excellent, postseason-ready Astros rotation.

  12. Mike Trout out Tuesday with left wrist injury

    Jul 28, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Mike Trout AP

    Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBI in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers, but he also suffered a left wrist injury in that game when he tried to make a diving catch …

  13. Angels acquire outfielders David Murphy and David DeJesus

    Jul 28, 2015, 6:54 PM EDT

    angels logo

    In a span of about 10 minutes the Angels landed two outfielders …

  14. Jenrry Mejia gets 162-game ban for second failed PED test

    Jul 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Jenrry Mejia Jenrry Mejia

    This time it’s for both Stanozolol and Boldenone.

  15. Nationals, Phillies agree to Jonathan Papelbon trade

    Jul 28, 2015, 6:16 PM EDT

    papelbon Getty Images

    Papelbon owns a sparkling 1.59 ERA and 40/8 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 innings this season for the Phillies, and he’s 17-for-17 in save opportunities.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. A. Rodriguez (4352)
  2. C. Hamels (3866)
  3. J. Cueto (3856)
  4. M. Trout (3493)
  5. T. Tulowitzki (3366)
  1. D. Price (3196)
  2. J. Reyes (3171)
  3. S. Kazmir (3144)
  4. C. Gonzalez (3068)
  5. M. Conforto (3054)