October 17, 2012

Tigers One Game Away from World Series: Justin Verlander goes 8 1/3 innings allowing 3 hits and 1 run for the win. The Yankees turn to ace CC Sabathia tonight to try and stave off elimination.

posted by justgary to baseball at 09:35 AM - 16 comments

Given how counter-intuitive Girardi seems to be at this point, I fully expect ARod to start tonight against a right-handed pitcher who he's struggled against in limited action (1-for-12 vs Scherzer in his career).

posted by grum@work at 12:47 PM on October 17, 2012

I'm still in shock with how ineffective the Yankees offense has been. Verlander was off all night, yet they only got on the board because Leyland let him go out for the 9th instead of having Coke take over right then. If the Scherzer of mid-season shows up tonight, they don't have a prayer...

posted by MeatSaber at 01:42 PM on October 17, 2012

If the Scherzer of little league days shows up tonight, they don't have a prayer.

Sabathia could throw a no-hit shutout for 9 innings and the Yankees would lose in extras.

posted by dyams at 03:41 PM on October 17, 2012

Well, Nunez got lucky: after the homerun to lead off the ninth, the total number of homeruns Justin Verlander has allowed in the ninth inning over his career: 1. I'm sure Yankees fans will suggest Girardi was right to play him, and this is on the other Yankee bums to not be on base when he hit the homerun.

Relating to the conversation yesterday, someone pointed out in another forum that with lefty Phil Coke in there to relieve Verlander, it's notable that right-handed batting ARod against lefties has a 146 OPS+. Meanwhile, left-handed batting Ichiro has a 100 OPS+, left-handed batting Robinson Cano has a 101 OPS+, and left-handed batting Raul Ibanez has an abysmal 53 OPS+ (Texiera has a 126 OPS+ against lefties).

It's somewhat understandable that Ibanez was left in to hit given the recency effect despite his awful performance against lefties this year (and one of his two HR in that Baltimore game was against a lefty), but it makes no sense that Ichiro and Cano went up to hit in a one-run game when you had ARod ready to go. Yes, Cano finally got a hit, and of course if ARod had gone up to hit for Ibanez and struck out the fans would have excoriated Girardi... but pinch hitting for one of them would still likely be the right move, and his job is not to appease the fans, it's to manage the games well.

Sitting ARod in game 3 because he's having an off series is questionable; benching him apparently indefinitely for the ALCS in some punitive, fan appeasing move is managerial insanity. And having a future HoF with a 146 OPS+ against lefties this year sitting on the bench in a close game while three different lefties with average or below OPS against left-handed pitchers makes no sense.

posted by hincandenza at 04:08 PM on October 17, 2012

but it makes no sense that Ichiro and Cano went up to hit in a one-run game when you had ARod ready to go

ARod sure as hell didn't look ready to go. Or maybe sitting on the bench munching on sunflower seeds is his preferred method of readying himself for a potential at bat.

Although I imagine it is harder to get phone numbers from the batter's box.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:32 PM on October 17, 2012

Slumps I have seen over the years generally involve guys who are making contact but not getting hts. I've never seen a team swinging, missing, and striking out at the rate the Yankees are. They're likely getting to the point, confidence-wise, that they hope to hit the ball solidly, even if it results in outs.

Slumps that horrendous don't usually correct themselves in a series, especially when it involves practically every player in the lineup.

I agree with YYM. A-Rod's attitude, in my opinion, doesn't seem to be a positive with regards to Girardi's decision-making. As I said in the other thread, he seems more interested in coming across like this situation doesn't bother him than anything else. That must grate on the nerves of a emotional person like Girardi.

posted by dyams at 04:36 PM on October 17, 2012

Well- why would it? That's a damned if you do, damned if you don't approach. If he's surly, he'd be accused of not being a team player. Hey, he's respecting his coach's decision- what else is he supposed to do, act surly and pissed off and unhappy, just so people's Platonic notion of a 'gritty' ballplayer is satisfied?

I'm sure if Girardi told him in the eighth, "Be ready, we may use you as a pinch-hitter in the ninth", he'd be focused and loose. But clearly, that's not going to happen; Girardi is managing to appease the fans, and it isn't working out. Maybe Donald Trump's twitter account isn't the best consultant to use for strategy in a playoff series...

posted by hincandenza at 05:24 PM on October 17, 2012

I simply don't get how the Yankees are dealing with A-Rod makes any sense, and I can only guess there's a bigger picture here: A-Rod going elsewhere in the off season.

posted by justgary at 05:42 PM on October 17, 2012

Don't know how accurate this lineup is, but the ball boy better have a few sharpies ready in the Yankee dugout.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:48 PM on October 17, 2012

I can only guess there's a bigger picture here: A-Rod going elsewhere in the off season.

How much of that contract would the Yankees have to eat to get someone to take him on? He's clearly in decline, more and more fragile and not particularly well known as a veteran leader in the clubhouse. He's got $114M + $30M in potential bonuses for HR records over the next five years. I could see the Yankees having to eat well over $100M to get someone to bite on that.

Not to say they wouldn't, but if I was a GM I'd have to get an absolute sweetheart deal to consider letting the Yankees off the hook for that one. Not ideologically, but with them handcuffed by that contract for the next 5 years, they're less of a free agency threat.

posted by dfleming at 05:51 PM on October 17, 2012

There's been rumors lately, though the first ones are being shot down.

posted by justgary at 05:57 PM on October 17, 2012

Well hell, if it was a free A-Rod, I'd totally go for that!

posted by dfleming at 06:11 PM on October 17, 2012

If the Yanks eat both Rodriguez' contract and another contract of a player not wanted by another organization to get the deal done does the buyout money count against payroll?

posted by cixelsyd at 06:12 PM on October 17, 2012

but it makes no sense that Ichiro and Cano went up to hit in a one-run game when you had ARod ready to go

If Girardi sent up ARod to pinch-hit in the 9th, Leyland would have immediately brought in Benoit, thus putting ARod against a RHP again (where he's getting murdered this year).

Also, Ichiro is easily the best/most consistent hitter in the Yankees lineup in the ALCS. There is no reason to pull him, especially since he has no platoon split in his career (.786/.783).

If they weren't going to start ARod in game 3, he should have been brought in to pinch-hit for Chavez in the 8th inning.

posted by grum@work at 11:17 PM on October 17, 2012

justgary's link to Joe Posnanski's blog covers that: Arod isn't the all-world hitter he once was, but he's still well above average, and if Arod pinch hits and this results in Coke getting pulled for someone deeper in the bullpen... isn't that still a win for the Yankees?

posted by hincandenza at 01:44 AM on October 18, 2012

....aaaaaand, stick a fork in the Yankees, they're done.

posted by NerfballPro at 10:38 PM on October 18, 2012

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