Thoughts following Game Four


(Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Yankees and Orioles have been neck-and-neck all season, so something will finally have to give in Game Five tonight. They’ve played 209 innings across 22 games in 2012, with New York scoring 103 runs and Baltimore 101. Those 22 games have been split right down the middle at 11-11.

1. The lineup has to change tonight. The Orioles are starting hard-throwing righty Jason Hammel and Alex Rodriguez can not start. He’s 0-for-12 with nine strikeouts against same-side pitchers in the series and looks completely and utterly helpless. Eric Chavez has not been any great shakes himself lately, but the team’s best chance to win tonight has him at third base and A-Rod on the bench. Curtis Granderson has been the club’s worst hitter in the postseason and needs to sit as well. He’s done nothing, absolutely nothing to help the offense. It’s great that he can run into a homer at any time, but the Yankees can’t afford to wait for him to click. Since Brett Gardner hasn’t had enough at-bats lately, just stick Raul Ibanez in left to start the game. CC Sabathia is a ground ball pitcher and hopefully Ibanez’s defense can be hidden, plus Derek Jeter may need another DH day because of his bone bruised left foot.

2. Now obviously the entire offense is struggling, but you know what hurts more than Granderson’s strikeouts or A-Rod’s feeble at-bats? It’s Robinson Cano being a no-show. He’s 2-for-18 in the series (run-scoring doubles in Games One and Two) with an intentional walk. No one on the planet was hotter was Robbie at the end of the season, but either the three days off before the ALDS cooled his bat or the Orioles are just doing a great job of pitching to him. When I see at-bats like this…

… I tend to think it’s more the latter, though I’m sure the time off had something to do with it. Cano will never be the most disciplined hitter in the world, and that’s a weakness that can be exploited from time to time. The Yankees need him to be the impact hitter in the middle of the order and right now he’s not doing it. Not even close.

3. It’s great that Joe Girardi has faith in his players and he trusts them to turn things around, but his biggest weakness as a manager is his stubborn refusal to see the forest for the trees and make changes. When Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner were the only players hitting the ALDS last season, they stayed at the bottom of the order while A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher remained in the middle of the lineup and it ended their season. Remember what happened with Tino Martinez and Wade Boggs in 1996? They didn’t hit a lick in the postseason and Joe Torre benched them. The team was better off with them out of the lineup so the change was made and it helped the Yankees win. Girardi has to be more proactive and not just sit around and wait for things to correct themselves. There’s no time for patience anymore.

4. The Yankees have allowed nine runs in 42 innings in the ALDS. Nine runs in 42 innings. That’s a 1.93 ERA as a team. All four starter have turned in not just quality outings, but dynamite efforts that more than gave the club a chance to bullpen. The bullpen has allowed just one run in 11.1 innings, or five fewer than Jim Johnson has by himself. The Yankees have scored eight runs after the seventh inning in the four games compared to one for the Orioles. The entire pitching staff from top to bottom has been brilliant, and it can all go to waste because the bats have gone silent. It would be an unbelievable shame.

Categories : Musings


  1. I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

    I am ill.

  2. Goyanks5202 says:

    Maybe so, but I’d much rather have that problem, (meaning we made the ALCS) and take our chances, then to never know. Need to get it done tonight!

  3. Anyone want to take a wild guess at what the fifth highest batting average for a Yankee is in this series?

    It belongs to Russell Martin.

    He’s hitting .214.

    Remarkably, Curtis Granderson’s OPS is even lower than that.

    It’s impossible to expect the Yankees to win today, because right now, it’s impossible to expect the Yankees to score ONE FUCKING RUN. 2.79 R/G, and 1.76 excluding the one fluke inning in Game 1. Furthermore, only 5 runs scored against Baltimore starting pitching.

    I was hoping I would be able to enjoy those Raul Ibanez home runs for a little while. As it turns out, I probably won’t be able to enjoy them beyond the night it happened. For shame.

  4. Eddards says:

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Mike! Gardner and Chavy in, Grandy and Arod OUT. You’ve got to win ballgames, period.

    2. Yeah, he’s been awful. He’d be benched too if we had someone to put in for him. Cano is still an improvement over the backups but you can’t say the same for Granderson and Arod right now.

    3. Yep, Joe made a great move in Game 3 PH for Alex and it won him the ballgame. He needs to take another shot tonight and outright bench Arod and Granderson. Torre would have done it two games ago.

    4. And it would have been lined up perfectly had they won last night. Now they’ll have to use Phelps or Nova in Game 2 next series if we win tonight and CC will need to pitch a shutout to win.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Yup, let’s sing the fucking praises of the last manager the fanbase wanted to stick the pitchforks on.

      As for #4, there is no “perfect.” Every one of the five starters you’ve got needs to go out there and give a great performance, whether it’s CC Sabathia or the guy who you and the voices in your head decided is a “big game” pitcher. There’s no excuses. If it’s your turn, get out there and pitch well enough to win, which is exactly what the four starters have done so far and I think will happen tonight.

      I’m not crying. Their pitching has been as good as ours. While I’m frustrated by our big hitters looking like complete asses out there, I’m still damn proud of this team’s, especially the pitchers’, performance. Win or lose tonight, I’m still damn proud.

      • Eddards says:

        And what goes before the fall? Pride. That word should not be uttered today. I don’t care about ARod’s pride or Granderson’s pride. They should be benched tonight to give us our best chance to win. The pitching has been admirable but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if they can’t win this series.

      • MannyGeee says:

        “Yup, let’s sing the fucking praises of the last manager the fanbase wanted to stick the pitchforks on.”

        funny, no one remembers how much everyone hated Joe Torre, because he’s the patron saint of managing now that Girardi is “worse”

      • Sam P. says:

        Yup, let’s sing the fucking praises of the last manager the fanbase wanted to stick the pitchforks on.

        Come on man. The OP said Torre would have benched ARod and Granderson two games ago. He didn’t say anything else. Settle down, that’s an unnecessary bit of snark and/or malicious intent there.

      • toad says:

        It’s not “singing praises” to cite a good, tough decision that Torre made.

      • OMG! Bagels! says:

        Pitching has been great. Have to believe they’re frustrated as hell with the offense.

  5. Bartolo's Colon says:

    was at the game last night, what a suckfest. I knew there was no chance of winning unless they could hit a hr. everyone is choking/pressing. on the other hand, the pitching could not be better. would be sad to waste such a great performance by them.

    i will be back there today, hopefully not to see a bunch of o’s fans celebrate.

    • Mandy Stankiewicz says:

      I was in 237 last night, if it wasn’t for the bleachers/the O’s fans with their faces painted in our section/and screaming at Jones (basically everything but the actual game) I would have resorted to pulling my hair out for fun. Props to Hughs for great sp. I believe in the big man tonight.

  6. CT Yankee says:

    Yes, an absolute unbelievable shame. Even Phil stepped up to bring a great performance. Perhaps both teams have been exposed as the average teams they are and were lucky to play in a poor division. It will be interesting to see what happens to the team that backs into the next round.

  7. asdf says:

    Still can’t stop thinking about that 8th inning last night. Just stunning incompetence by manager and players alike.

  8. By the way, this would be the second straight year that the pitching, i.e. “the worrisome part of the Yankees”, would have absolutely done it’s job, and be wasted because the Yankees bats fell apart in the playoffs.

    They’ve allowed 26 runs in the last nine postseason games. They’re 4-5 in those games.

    • Athenian says:

      but but but, the offense is so dangerous because of all those runs they score over a 162 games… I kid because the focus is on the number scored, not on the number of losses due to failed scoring when they a situation like the 8th inning.

  9. Rudy says:

    If A-Rod is in the lineup today against the righty, I’m literally going to cry tears of pain.

  10. Eddards says:

    And even if CC does pitch a shut out tonight and the Yanks advance, is Arod gonna play vs Verlander? Vs Scherzer? Vs Fister? He’s a platoon player and should only be used as a RHB off the bench against Phil Coke.

  11. CountryClub says:

    Jeter has 8 of the teams 33 hits. Swish, Ichiro, Cano, Arod & Granderson are 11 – 85.

  12. Graham says:

    It will be interesting to see if Joe has the balls to sit A-Rod tonight. What will be even more interesting is if you sit A-Rod and we win; if we were to play the Tigers when the hell would A-Rod actually start? He’d literally become a bench player for us.

  13. NYYROC says:

    YES should use the Pitch Trax system that TBS has. I have noticed all series that Balt. is not just pitching Robbie away, but off the plate away. And he’s chasing it. Not a good sign. Still think the NYY win today. Then next series is a fresh start.

  14. Graham says:

    Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez?

  15. UncleArgyle says:

    ARod and Granderson definately need to sit, amd Swisher needs to be parked right next to them. Also, Where’s the Lance Nix love? Seriously, as sad as it is, he looks like the teams most locked in hitter right now. He NEEDS to be in the lineup. Move Ichiro to CF, Raul in RF, and let Nix play left. I’d honestly roll out this lineup:

    SS Jeter
    CF Ichiro
    LF Nix
    2B Cano
    C Martin
    RF Ibanez
    DH Nunez
    3B Chavez
    1B Texeria

    Now thats a pretty unimpressive lineup, but its hard to be more pathetic than what the Yankees rolled out last night. When was the last time this team hit 3 singles in an inning? Serious question.

  16. Athenian says:

    The ironic part is that throughout the season, in the papers and especially on this blog and game threads, people pounded other people who complained about the ineptness of the offense, always quoting runs scored, HR, OBP, etc. The fact is this line up is built to this HR’s and nothing more. There a couple “hitters” on this team but the rest are over aggressive free swinging power types who fail to adjust to the situation.

    Swisher is the perfect example, he has a different swing when there is no one on base or with a runner at first. When runners are at 2nd and/or 3rd, he lengthens his swing and goes into glory mode.

    Regardless of whether they win or lose tonight, there needs to be a fundamental change in how this team is constructed. Starting with, as Mike said, “the stubbornness of the manager”.

    • dalelama says:

      This team misses the guts, heart, and clutchness of Damon, Matsui, and Posada. I feel sorry for Jeter as he tries to rally this band of non-prime time “heroes” lead by an admitted steroid cheat. It is nice to see Tex perform better than usual this post season though. The one bright point is the results so far highlight what an incredible ball player Jeter is, and why he and not Arod is team captain.

  17. mceli says:

    My first post here..long time yank fan..

    although seeing all the championships 96-2000 dulled my senses to overreacting to yank failures of recent years.

    Either way… do i speak for a lot of people when i sound like freaking nostradmus literally telling my gf sitting next to me as the game goes on when a specific yankee hitter will strike out on a certain pitch or hit a lazy fly ball… pretty sad

    So.. if we had a manager with real balls…not balls for a fleeting minute, this is the lineup that gives us without a questionable doubt the best chance to win tonite. Toss all feelings aside and win a game. I dont give a rats ass about the emotional state of arod, swish, and grandy.. 2 of which will be gone soon.. and arod would be if we didn’t have the worst 3 month stand in owner in history (yes you hank the tank steinbrenner)

    Jeter – SS
    Ichiro – RF
    Cano – 2b
    Teixeira – 1b
    Ibanez – lf
    Martin – c
    Chavez – 3b
    Nunez – dh
    Gardner – cf

    Jeter cant play field… he DHs and nix slots in to SS, nunez batting position

    This isn’t hard at all…

    Balanced, satisfies Joey g’s hopeless need for left / righty (like it ever maters) and we actually have 3 players who can steal a base and steal a run.

    I don’t want to hear anyone tell me gardner is injured / not enough at bats.. he was cleared for full hitting and has been hitting. someone try to convince me even if bunting gardner 4 times isn’t a better option then watching granderson look like my father trying to hit.

    Salary is irrelevant, emotional is irrelevant.. best chance to win… period.

    • nolan says:

      strongly agree.

      did anyone actually believe arod wouldnt strike out with the game winning run at 3rd and 1 out? I was sitting in a bar and everyone, EVERYONE was yelling about how Arod was about to strike out.

      • dalelama says:

        Vindication is sweet but let’s hope the ChokeMaster produces a rare moment of clutchness. More curiously how long before the Yanks try to break Arod’s contract based on steroid enhanced performance fraud. I can’t believe they are going to piss $125M down the drain paying this fraud for the next five years. Sue and force Arod to settle for less.

    • UncleArgyle says:

      Jason Nix went 2-3 last night is has a .500 batting average in the series….and he’s not in the lineup?

      • mceli says:

        i am fine with nix or nunez…

        i am thinking more along the lines of stealing a run.. i think nunez on the bases edges out nix here..

    • Bartolo's Colon says:

      totally agree with gardner, the fact that people are saying he doesn’t have enough at bats is laughable. i was seriously cheering granderson’s fly ball last night, because he didn’t so. he is miserable right now and needs to sit. on top of that gardner can literally run circles around grandy in the of

    • CT Yankee says:

      Bunting for hits, working walks, stealing bases, all better options than watching this mess. How about starting off with Gardner, Nunez, Jeter, Ichiro and have all 4 bunt. That’s gotta get at least 1 run in.

    • CountZero says:

      I have to pile on as well — Gardner needs to be in CF. Even if the only thing he can do is bunt, that would still be one thing more than Grandy can do.

      Wind is supposed to be blowing tonight too — things could get interesting. Putting Ichiro or Swish in CF with Raul in LF is too risky defensively.

      Hopefully Jeter can play in the field.

    • TomH says:

      About Gardner’s lack of at-bats. Strictly speaking, Granderson has lacked “at-bats“. He flails helplessly at pitches. Gardner can’t do worse and may well do better.

  18. nolan says:

    gardner in center. Ibanez DH, Jeter SS, Ichiro LF

    put arod and Granderson on bench. Do not remove til post season is over.

  19. hypocrite says:

    Again no mention of Swisher sucking dick. Admit he is trash and unclutch like you have been denying for years.

    • CountryClub says:

      At least Swisher is hitting the ball. The results arent there, so I guess at the end it doesnt matter. But he’s not flailing at pitches like Arod, Grandy and Cano.

    • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

      Well then neither is anyone else in our lineup right now.

  20. Mike says:

    Was there any relief pitcher who is on the roster that was not used in last night’s game? Only one I can think of is Rapada. Joba will be obviously out.

    Yankees need CC to pretty much go 9. Soriano has had 2 straight 2 inning games (correct me if I’m wrong on that), David Robertson has pitched every game this series, although yesterday was only 1 inning, but still.

    CC has to go 9 and the bats need to wake the f up (easier said than done)

    But I’m all with you Mike with benching A-Rod and Granderson. Unfortunately I have bad news for you, and that is Granderson without question will not be benched. A-Rod, Highly unlikely but I’m not going to rule it out due to him being pinched hit for twice the past 2 games.

    If Jeter plays SS, then put Ibanez at DH, and I’d even take my cahcnes with Gardner in the OF

    Although it’s an extremely small sample, Jayson Nix has done fairly well. A couple of hits and a couple of deep fly balls, 1 robbed by McClouth last night and another deep drive in Game 3.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Rapada was used. Yanks used 7 relievers, so that plus four starters meant everyone pitched. Phelps wasn’t going to shut them down forever and they won the battle of attrition. Their guys sucked with RISP as well as ours. That’s what a well-pitched series looks like.

      On face value, I thought pinch-hitting for Alex last night in the ninth was a bit silly. Lightning’s not going to strike every time and, if that’s how little you trust him, maybe a nice retirement talk would be in order.

      I’d sit one of them tonight. Sure. I actually think I’d sit Granderson before I sat Alex, work Ibanez,. I have more trust in Alex to slap a ball into the OF than I do in Granderson right now.

      • Athenian says:

        I completely agree. While ARod is frustrating, Granderson is just unbearable. When a guy tries to bunt a hanging curve ball and makes it look like an excuse me check swing, how much more of a sign is needed.

      • Mike says:

        Yeah Rapada was used for 1 batter. All pretty mcuh was forgotten though since teh O’s took the lead right before that :(

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      The way things are going it’s likely that CC will have to go more like 12 or 13 tonight.

  21. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    Ideally I would bench all the starters except Jeter who always comes through, but of course,that cannot be done. The next thing would be to bench Arod, swisher and Granderson. Leave Texeira because of his defense. CC can pitch a shutout and still lose because our guys will not lift a finger to get a run accross. I saw an article by that Cameron guy where he claims that Arod has performed better than Jeter in the postseason based on wRC. My question is if you have a runner on third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth who would you like up Arod or Derek?

  22. Rich in NJ says:

    I would start Ichiro, Ibanez, and Gardner in the OF.

  23. paulc says:

    Pitching for both teams has been amazing. Defense for both has been solid. RISP-we have sucked all year….AROD and Swish in postseason 2 for their last 52 combined with RISP…says it all…ugleeeee…Hope CC does his thing and bullpen locks it down, defense plays sound and offense scores 1 or 2 in 1st inning and then tack onsome more as game goes on. But RISP has haunted us all year. AROD looks simply overmatched and done. Stupid contract Steinbrenners did for themselves…but oh well. Sucks to see Cano and Ichiro cool off…but lets get at it tonight..

  24. NYYROC says:

    Rapada did pitch. He struck out Davis.

  25. mitch says:

    At this point i think you have to go with the lineup that makes the most contact, try to scratch across a few runs, and hope cc can carry the load himself.


    • Mike says:

      It’s a small sample, but it’s still the 2 most recent games played, Jayson Nix has made solid contact. Perhaps they should Nix in there instead of Gardner and make the OF Ibanez, Ichiro and Swisher, with Jeter being DH

  26. Bill says:

    I’m not Joe G obviously but if I’m making my lineup it would look like this if Jeter can play the field:

    Jeter SS
    Ichiro LF
    Teixeira 1B
    Cano 2B
    Ibanez DH
    Swisher RF
    Martin C
    Nix 3B
    Gardner CF

    And like this if Jeter can not play the field:

    Jeter DH
    Ichiro LF
    Teixeira 1B
    Cano 2B
    Swisher RF
    Martin C
    Chavez 3B
    Nix SS
    Gardner CF

    As awesome and clutch Ibanez has been, I don’t think you can put him in the field. Nix has had some good swings and you have to ride the hot hand. Swisher is a guy that you have to hope turns it around. He has hit the ball relatively hard at times. Grandy and A-Rod are so lost that they can’t be in the lineup and I hate having Chavez in the lineup as well if Jeter can’t play the field.

  27. Terry says:

    I’m sick to my stomach watching these guys hit. There will be hell to pay if it ends today. Granderson, Swisher need to be off this roster next season. SWISHER was 1-33 with RISP during his post seasons with the Yankees before last night.

  28. DF says:

    The O’s have good pitching. Their hitters are struggling every bit as much as the Yankees hitters. Are the O’s not trying? Do they not care? Are they old and slow and washed up and overpaid and whatever else? You all saw Phil Hughes eat Chris Davis alive with curveballs last night, right?

    Baseball’s a funny game. You can’t chase the hot hand because you only know who was hot in hindsight. Girardi should play the percentages, start the best players you have as identified over the season and their careers, and hope for the best. Benching half the lineup because you “know” they’re cold and can’t hit anymore would be beyond stupid.

    And the Yankees might lose. If they don’t hit, they’ll lose. That’s how this works. It’s not unacceptable or a total failure or collapse or choke or (insert ridiculous Sportscenter line here). The Orioles are damn good, they played the Yankees to a standstill all season long, and that will continue tonight.

  29. Rich in NJ says:

    I don’t think the O’s pitching is as good as the Yankees’ limp bats have made them look. OTOH, I think the Yankees’ pitching is this good.

  30. thenamestsam says:

    Couldn’t disagree more with all the panic benchings being suggested here. The reality with slumps is you never know when they’re going to end. Granderson has been horrid so far but if you think that guarantees he will be bad tonight then you’re basically arguing that his slump will go on forever. Play the best players. Hope tonight is the night they bust out.

    • Rudy says:

      Whoa.. you couldn’t be more wrong. This lack of efficiency is not just limited to the postseason for these players (Granderson, K-Rod).

      Check out their stats from post All-Star break until now, horrid.

    • mceli says:

      stop hoping and get players in there that make contact and can generate runs..

      arod, grandy, swish have horrific post season numbers 3 years running…

      you want to hope someone busts out.. its cano.. since he was hot a week ago and has done it in the post season.

      you want to hope swish improves on 1-35? is that not enough to realize its not going to happen?

      • DF says:

        you want to hope swish improves on 1-35? is that not enough to realize its not going to happen?
        You don’t know that. You think you do, but you don’t. Swisher might go 4-4 tonight. He also might go 0-4. Neither scenario proves he can’t hit in the postseason.

        • MannyGeee says:

          By definition, the 1-35 proves he can theoretically hit in the post-season…

          • DF says:

            Haha. Yes, Q.E.D.

            My point is just that the playoffs aren’t magical. They’re at-bats. Sure, they’re against better pitching, but they’re still just at-bats. Given enough of them, Swish will turn it around.

            It might even start tonight. Or it might not. There’s no way to know.

      • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

        Swisher was just missing last night, as opposed to everyone else who wasn’t even making contact.

    • rek4gehrig says:

      I think the time for hoping is over with Grandy. yanks have enough HR hitters in the lineup so Grandy being there solely for HR purposes is just gravy.

  31. Favrest says:

    As much as we’d like to see Arod, Granderson and Swisher benched, it won’t happen. Girardi gave us his one move where he disregarded status and salary. Sure we’d all love to see Arod benched, but don’t hold your breathe.

    • Luisergi says:

      A-Rod shouldn’t, and IMO won’t play tonight. It’s the best for everybody. I think Girardi has realized that, he won’t start him.

  32. Bubba says:

    I’m not sure how any of this can be surprising to even the most casual fan. The offense hasn’t looked right for most of the season. Maybe this is a by product of the low contact/high on base/big power. Over the course of a season the team scores oodles of runs but does so in big bunches. More of a barbell then a bell curve.

    The only thing I’m amazed at is how outstanding our pitching has been. It truly has been impressive.

  33. Nick says:

    I’d love to see Nunez in the line-up. He’s just got that x-factor that seems to add strength of character to the team, even with his defense. Also, he’s a contact hitter with great speed so it increases our ability to string hits together and helps the running game.

    If Jeter is fit to play the field, I’d go:

    Jeter SS
    Ichiro CF
    Cano 2B
    Texeira 1B
    Ibanez LF
    Swisher RF
    Martin C
    Nix 3B
    Nunez DH

    Am not married to the exact line-up spots, especially the bottom half, but that would be my nine.

    I’d rather see Nix in there than Chavez simply because he is hotter right now more dynamic. I’m happy to stick with Swish too because he hasn’t looked atrocious. If Swish was benched, I’d stick Gardner in Center and move Ichiro to right.

    I honestly think that line-up would keep us strong on defense and really add something offensively.

  34. Favrest says:

    Granderson isn’t in a slump. He’s a .220 hitter. You are what your average is. He feasted on the bad teams, and hit home runs. The O’s can pitch. He’s outclassed.

    • Athenian says:

      Feasted on bad teams = same thing the Yankees do over the course of 162 games which is why they get misleading offensive numbers suggesting they are a better hitting team than what they are. Fact is they have 6 people in the regular line up that are .250 hitters or less but get more credit because the law of averages comes in to play over 162 games. In a 5 game series, nothing averages out and as you said – you are what your average is.

      • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

        Feasted on bad teams = same thing every team does over the course of 162 games.

        Why is no one realizing that the Orioles are having this exact same discussion? They were a damn good offense this year and can’t hit any more than the Yankees can.

    • TomH says:

      We hear that despite the .220 ave., the Yanks can’t let Granderson go because of his 40+ power. I say find 2 guys who can hit 20 hr’s and bat .270 or more.

    • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

      Granderson home runs against teams this year:

      Orioles: 7(WOAH! bet you didn’t expect to see that number…)

      Teams above .500: 26
      Teams below .500: 17


      Guess your narrative doesn’t fit. I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you.

  35. MannyGeee says:

    also, was pinch hitting Ibanez for Nix (who was hitting the ball on the screws all night) instead of for Granderson in the 9th a little short sighted? when I saw him grab his helmet, I expected him to go hit for the guy who struck out 7 times that night…

    Jus sayin

  36. tipsie says:

    Through it all, Cano is the most disappointing to me. He had a couple of hittable pitches yesterday with men on base. If he makes any kind of hard contact, the series is over. 3-1 pitch from Matusz. Productive out, I know, advancing the runners to 2nd & 3rd; but we need more than a dribbler to 2nd base there. He aggravates me.

  37. Luisergi says:

    From last night’s game story

    “Fieldin Culbreth’s strike zone was a disaster, which I guess isn’t a surprise. It was bad for both teams but I don’t want to blame it for anything, I’m just making an observation. It’s made even more noticeable and annoying by the little permanent strike zone sidebar on the TBS broadcast.”

    Mike, remember i tweeted you something about that before game 1?

    That’s exactly the reason i hate watching that little square on the screen all the time during the game, you’re getting there.

  38. Bartolo's Colon says:

    my yankee calendar is trolling me by the way. october is a-rod’s picture.

    full disclosure, i love a-rod and hate to see him play like this. would be nice if he could redeem himself, whether it be tonight or in the alcs/world series.

  39. forensic says:

    Because it seems like everyone is playing the game, here’s my lineup tonight:


    I have a tough time taking A-Rod out because of personal bias, but I certainly understand the state of the offensive team (they shouldn’t even qualify as hitters at this point) right now, and maybe it needs to be done.

  40. Luisergi says:


    CC, lets go get ‘em. Please.

  41. David K. says:

    If you had any brains at all, you knew coming into this year that this was how it would probably end. Not with a bang but a wimper. The lineup is made up of homer happy selfish jackasses who swing for the fences on every single pitch, no matter what the situation. The manager has been unable to correct this approach all year. No matter what happens tonight, you know that there had better be some major changes in the lineup next year. By the way, Jesus Montero sure would look good as the DH now wouldn’t he?

  42. Adam says:

    Obviously the hitting has been putrid. But these teams have been neck-and-neck pretty much all year. As much as our Yankee-fandom dictates that we assume that every other team will fall to us without resistance in the playoffs, how can we really be surprised with how close this series has been? We have our horse going tonight, I like our chances. The playoffs invariably come down to a play here or there, the one clutch hit, etc…this was the case even with the dynasty teams that we (rightly) venerate. We’ll get it done tonight. Go Yanks.

  43. JohnC says:

    Ibanez and Chavez both must be in the lineup tonight. I would play Gardner for Granderson too, despite Gardner not getting many at bats this season. They need his speed and he’s guarranteed to actually “hit” the ball. I’d go:

    Jeter ss
    Ichiro LF
    Cano 2b
    Tex 1b
    Ibanez DH
    Swisher RF
    Chavez 3b
    Martin c
    Gardner cf

    • stuart a says:

      the scary thing is i agree. i am even so desperate to play gardenr after 3 ab’s in about 4 months.


      arod and grandy sit

  44. Darren says:

    No way I’m starting Tartabull tonight. He’s a fucking bust. I’m DHing Nokes and starting Stanley. If something happens, Leyritz is our emergency catcher. Fuck it. And I know it’s crazy, but I’m giving the start to Silvestri at third. I have a feeling is gonna do something big. and I definitely want Barfield’s arm in right.

    GO YANKS!! 1992 is gonna be our year!!

    Kelly – CF
    Velarde – 2B
    Mattingly – 1B
    Hall – LF
    Nokes – DH
    Stanley – C
    Barfield – RF
    Gallego – SS
    Silvestri – 3B

  45. Marcy says:

    I know Joe made a great, gutsy call pinch-hitting for Alex but I still have questions.

    I wondered why Joe went to Phelps and not Lowe – Lowe has so much more experience in this type of situation.
    Why did he go to Raul when he did and not wait until the possibility of Johnson pitching?

    There seems to be a concerted – I don’t know about effort but all of a sudden it’s kill A-Rod on the post-game show. Look, I know – everyone knows he’s struggling big time but he has a big long term contract so clearly the front office has ok’d this and it’s interesting. It may not show up today or if they move on though it could I guess, but this is going to be a problem in the clubhouse.
    I’m 1 of those that feels a bit sorry for him – this has to be crushing and I don’t know if he takes it as a challenge, becomes a mental mess, or he’s really done.

    Granderson was over-used all season and he looks it but he at least has a double & a HR against Hammel; Gardner hasn’t faced him. Hopefully they get a lead and Gardner can come in for D. What’s really sad is Alex has 4 HR’s against Hammel…but it’s not happening for him now, I guess.

    Since it’s an all-hands-on-deck day I have to think Giradi doesn’t worry about hurting feelings and puts out the best lineup he can.
    I hope O’Day threw too many pitches (though I doubt it) to pitch today – how did Texas & the Mets let him go? He’s killing the Yanks-

    • stuart a says:

      they have given up 8 runs in 4 games. why dispute the pitcher moves? phelps has been good and more consistent then lowe…

      you are nitpicking. the offense is the culprit, not even close…

    • David K. says:

      Regarding O’Day, a lot of people kill us. Who doesn’t kill us?

    • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

      Phelps has been better than Lowe all year, it’s hard to fault that decision.

      I completely agree that Granderson was over-used. I’m not sure that’s why he can’t hit a hanging 75 mph slider right now, but it’s possible.

      O’Day has been killing every team this year. He’s been fantastic. Arguably better than Jim Johnson.

  46. Mike HC says:

    I think we have to stack the offense, meaning Jeter should be playing short, and Ibanez at DH. Chavez at third. Granderson still plays.

    And then hope CC goes complete game shutout.

  47. NYCSPORTZFAN says:

    A freaking fabulus article mike! Seriously nailed everything right on the head! Its amazing that ur typical fan could of managed the yanks better then a guy who makes millions this series.. Before game 3, i stated that Ibanez should be DH with Chavez at 3rd and Arod on the bench.. Giardi somehow didn’t see it that way.. Right after game 3, i stated that i would start Gardner in place of granderson, just becasue his ability to make contact is much btter then grandy, and grandy is simply a dud against lefties at this point(is he worse then he ever was these days?)..

    Anyhow, if i was making the lineup tonight, it would be like this..

    1. Jeter SS
    2. Ichiro LF
    3. Cano 2B
    4. Tex 1B
    5. Ibanez DH
    6. Swisher RF
    7. Granderson CF
    8. Martin C
    9. Chavez 3B

    That gives u 6lefties in a row,and 7outta8, and any of em can launch a ball over short porch..

  48. paul a says:

    I know everyone is ready to run ARod out of town.But the reality i he isn’t the reason this series is even,yes he is part of the problem, but if Swisher, Grandison and Cano were hitting this ARod thing wouldn’t even be that big of an issue’
    Secondally, it is the same thing every post season.It just seems to me that this team is built more for the regular season than it is the post season, besides from Derek we just don’t seem to have any clutch performers. I still think we’ll win today and hopefullyour bats will heat up. but if we don’t I think ownership better take a good look at the reality that it may be time to clean house.

  49. NYCSPORTZFAN says:

    Giardi is just getting in the way at this point.. I mean, he darn near screwed us in game 3 by not starting Ibanez when most thought that 2 be obvious move prior to the game with chavez at 3rd.. Then in a AB u just thought there was no chance in Hell that AROD would hit with Ibanez on the bench and Chavez still there as well to play 3rd, and he freaking stays with AROD?

    Its scary that our manager is capable of making such easy decisons so difficult..

  50. Hoss says:

    Why is anyone giving the O’s credit for having great, or even good pitching. Joe Saunders? The D’Backs DFA’d him at the end of the season because he stunk up the NL West so bad they couldn’t take it. Yes, that NL West that everyone complains about being the reason that IPK succeeds. Miguel Gonzalez? Could have been pitching in AAA or the Mexican League this year. Hammel? Another scrap heap pick-up from the aforementioned NL West. Chen is a rookie who has good stuff but has faltered late season. All could and should have been hit hard by a “star studded lineup.”
    Compare this to CC, Pettite, Hughes, Kuroda – all proven ML star pitchers. The Yankee staff has pitched up to its potential. The Orioles staff has pitched way above its potential because the Yankee hitters have been pathetic. No plate discipline. Everyone hitting for homeruns, as they have all season. One dimensional offense. Joe being outmanaged by Buck. Very sorry state of affairs in the Bronx, and changes should follow even if we are fortunate enough to advance.
    I’m rooting just like everyone else here for a victory, but I don’t want to see this lineup back next year. Sorry for the rant.

    • Mike HC says:

      The lineup is very mediocre. Unfortunately, I think that has been established. But, our pitching and defense is far superior to many of those great offense mid 2000′s teams. It was a bit of a trade off.

    • TomH says:

      The reason people praise the O’s pitchers is simple enough. Who cares what they did or didn’t do in the NL? or where they might have been pitching this year (Mexico or AAA)?

      What matters is only what they’re actually doing. They got this team to a near tie during the regular season with NY. Now they’re in the deciding 5th game of an divisional series in which they’ve more or less crucified the Yankees’ hitters.

      You are what you do. They’re doing great.

      By the same token, this series is making very clear what more than a few people on this board have said all year: that the Yankees’ offense is deeply flawed. All season long its weaknesses have been on display. It’s put together to hit home runs, especially into the short porch zone. It is profoundly batting-average-challenged. Yeah, ARod’s having a lousy series, but he probably has a good excuse–that hand injury and a six-week absence. What can be said in extenuation of the performances of Granderson, Cano, and Swisher?

      Not too damned much.

      Someone should send Cano a copy of the Ted Williams book on hitting, with that chart outlining what were for TW the high-average areas of the zone. Cano is the kind of slovenly (albeit roughly great) natural hitter who will never live up to “his potential” because he’s so damned shallow at the plate.

      I don’t see O’s deserving any denigration. They’ve proven themselves all year to be a tough, steady team. It’s the Yankees who are ripe for denigrating.

      And–no matter what happens this post-season–rebuilding.

      • DF says:

        Agree with some what you said, but your assertion that Cano will never live up to his potential seems unnecessary. He’s a year in-year out .300 hitter who’s posted well above average OBP’s several years now, and hits for well above average power. If that’s not his potential, what do you expect? .400/.600/1.500 every year with 40 homeruns?

        Cano has flaws, but I think they’re part and parcel of his strengths. His ability get a bat on any ball is what makes him a high average hitter, but it also leads him to swing at bad pitches. He is who he is, and that’s fine.

        • Mike HC says:

          Yea, definitely. TomH’s post was real good, but disagreed with the Cano bit. He has already lived up to his potential. Obviously not in this series though, ha.

        • TomH says:

          Let me clarify about Cano. Isn’t it a broadcasters’ cliche that “Someday Cano will win a batting title?” What does it take to win a title? About .335-.340, roughly, I would guess. Cano was up there one year, about 2006 or 07. In my estimation, for what it’s worth, he should be in that area routinely during his peak years, in the Dimaggio, Musial, Gwynn, manner. I think that broadcasters’ cliche testifies to a general view of his “potential” that also brings him in line with that sort of average.

          He’s one of the best hitters in the game. But he’s not as good as he should be. I may be misremembering Axisa’s post: did he say Cano will never be the world’s “most disciplined” hitter? If so, I would respond: he doesn’t have to be the world’s most disciplined hitter. That’s Williams, Cobb, Hornsby territory. He just needs to be a disciplined hitter.

      • Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

        When good teams play against good teams, the odds are they will play near .500 against each other.

        You want to rebuild a 95 win team that has contracts that are unmove-able? Please explain to me how that’s going to happen.

        • TomH says:

          With all due respect, they’re 95 wins are beside the point. Since 2003, they’ve averaged about 97 wins per year. During that time they’re 1-1 in the Series. They’ve missed one year’s playoffs. They’ve gotten the boot from either the ALDS or ALCS in the others. This year is still up for grabs, but with this offense, things don’t look good for a third WS. They need a redesign that will make them not just playoff competitive but also able to make it to the World Series, which I still refuse to consider a mere third playoff match, as if baseball were the vulgar NBA or NFL.

          As for my solution! Ha ha. We’re not here to play “GM For A Day,” as much fun as that game can be. I attempted to outline a problem that needs rebuilding. If Cashman can’t see that problem, then he’s got a problem. It’s like a carpenter who makes me a table. I notice it wobbles. But he can’t see it. He’s got a problem. But if he can see it, it’s up to him to fix it. Not me.

          But if they’re stuck with unfixable contracts, then they’re screwed. With the exception of 2009, which looks to be the exception proving the rule, and an increasingly in-the-rear-view-mirror ’03, they’re a team that can’t get to the Series. We’ve watched them flounder again and again offensively throughout the season. Now we’re seeing it in condensed fashion, and it’s even more ugly.

          The Yankees are a wobbly table that needs structural fixing, probably along the lines of their historically great teams (back when batting averages were respected). Cashman (with ownership support) has to fix it. If he can’t because of reasons you cite, OK, ball game over, The Yankees LOOOOOSSSE.

          I can see the problem with the offense, many others on the board see it. Sports writers see it.

          Hey, Cash, do you see it? Well, fix it. Make a trade or two. Bring up a prospect or two (ooops). Do what you get paid to do.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Yes. However, every team still left has deep flaws. We just give more of a shit about ours.

  51. TLVP says:

    A-Rod is probably still suffering from the hand injury which they probably will not acknowledge publically

    For that reason what they do this year should have little bearing on how he does next year…

    I’d sit him and play Chavez.

  52. Mark L. says:

    Someone tweeted the astonishing statistic that for his career Swisher is 1 for 32 with runners in scoring position in the playoffs. It is almost mathematically impossible to be that much of a choke artist. A garbage can with a broom stick would somehow manage to produce an RBI dribbler.

  53. Jim Is Bored(Hughes the man?!) says:

    The lack of understanding of logic and how sports work in this thread is mind-numbing.

    Apparently using data to back up your narratives is unheard of. This nonsense about the Yankees feasting on the bad teams is true for every good team in baseball this year. Don’t believe me?


    The orioles couldn’t beat texas or the angels. The tigers were bad against Texas and the Yankees. Texas was bad against the White Sox and the A’s, and were below .500 against the Yankees.

    You know why the good teams have good records and the bad teams have bad records? Because the bad teams lose to the good teams. That’s how competition, sports, standings, work. Why is it surprising that the Yankees hit worse against good teams? Good teams almost always have better pitching. It would make no sense if the Yankees hit better against better pitching than they did against worse.

    Can everyone just take a massive chill pill, realize that the playoffs are always a crapshoot, that you can always find a 4-5 game sample over the regular season where shit happened, grab a six pack, and cheer on our team in what is basically a coin flip game, no matter what lineup girardi decides to run out there?


    • DF says:

      Nailed it. 100% agree.

    • TomH says:

      Ahh, statistical determinism, the bane of the age, along with evolutionary and genetic and cerebral and all the other determinisms.

      Ahh, metaphors! “Crap shoot.” “Hard wired” Memes. blahblahblahblah.

      • DF says:

        We’re not going to agree on this (and that’s fine!) but I don’t think this is statistical determinism at all. It’s using statistics as a measure or description of what has already happened, and using the past to inform the future, but in a more reliable, less-confirmationally-biased way.

  54. Tom Morea says:

    Remember last year’s back page of the New York Post? It featured the photos of A-Rod, Teixiera and Bozo the Clown Swisher, pertaining to their clutch performances in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
    The caption read, “The Three Stooges.” Now the post can add the photos of Granderson and Cano. How would you feel paying the huge salaries that these overpaid bums command?

  55. Cuso says:

    “It would be an unbelievable shame.”

    The problem is, it would be extremely believable. The bats are doing the same exact thing they did in the 2010 & 2011 ALDS. We waited all season long knowing that this performance was more than likely once the Divisional Series rolled around.

  56. Conor says:

    As much as the last game was ridiculously frustrating, it’s really funny that most commentators act as if we have no opponent. Has our offense been terrible? Yes. Has Baltimore’s? It’s even worse! Has our pitching been wonderful? Yes. Has Baltimore’s? Yes. Let’s relax a little and give Baltimore some credit. They won a lot of games this year and were one of the best teams in the second half (when they were mostly playing with their current team). It seems bad that we might lose to Baltimore, but they did manage to split the season series with us too.

    As for the lineup, play Chavez and Gardner and Ibanez too if Jeter can play short. Jeter, Ichiro, Cano, Teixeira, Ibanez, Chavez, Martin, Swisher, Gardner. Rodriguez shouldn’t be playing against righties and Granderson needs a day off.

  57. Laz says:

    That RISP fail that they had all season is really starting to bite them. I think CC will turn in a Gem, but the bats really need to turn it around.

  58. JScott says:

    If Girardi had run Raul up there in the 8th for ARod, don’t you think Buck would have walked him (loading the bases) and gone after Swisher? Well, that’s what I would have done anyway.

  59. SMK says:

    Win or lose, just get this MF’er over in 9 innings.

    These extra-inning stressfests are doing my blood pressure no favors.


  60. Chilango says:

    I was travelling all day yesterday so I’m glad to see I didn’t miss anything. Same RISPCHOKE by the moneymen. Hughes in and out of trouble but did his job. The dead meat of the lineup slept through another game. Oh well. It amazes me that NOW you’re saying ARoid and Kranderson need to be benched. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, you don’t need to be an Einstein to figure out that these guys should have been benched a long time ago. I really got a laugh over switching ARod with Tex in the batting order. Kind of like the deck chairs on the Titanic gig there. Oh and we are very evenly matched with the O’s, oh wait not really. There’s that 115 million difference in payroll.

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