First guessing Game 2's maneuvers

I get it that he wants to bench a slumping Swisher, but to use UTILITY MAN Jerry Hairston, Jr. instead of the VASTLY SUPERIOR defender/speedster Brett Gardner is flat out indefensible. Put Gardner in CF, where he’d be the best defensive OF on either team*, and slide Melky to RF. I’m cool with that. Give Swisher a break. No issue with that… but to put Hairston in…?

And to do it in the same game where you are benching Posada for no-stick Molina… wow, just wow.

If I hit the keyboard harder, does it make it any easier for you to understand how much I dislike these moves?

* UPDATE: Here’s the 2008 UZR Ratings on Gardner and Victorino(Fangraphs.com not showing 2009 UZR):

  • Gardner: 12.7
  • Victorino: 6.0

Here’s the data pulled from our OF/DH preview (also from Fangraphs.com, but 2009 data. Check out the Fielding Value columns):

Click here to read the rest

WS Game 2: Phillies @ Yankees

Lineups courtesy of Lohud:

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Jerry Hairston RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Jose Molina C
Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 4.42 ERA in postseason)
PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Matt Stairs DH
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Pitching: RHP Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00 ERA in postseason)

Yup. Jose Molina and Jerry Hairston. Cross your fingers, folks.… Click here to read the rest

To pitch, or not to pitch…on three days' rest

By Mike Jaggers-Radolf

The Yankees have been employing a high-risk strategy in the playoffs. They’ve been leveraging CC Sabathia, assuming that he’s the best pitcher in each series they’ve played. Take his stellar performance out of the equation, and the Yankees are a more pedestrian 4-2 so far in October — a number that recedes further still when all those extra innings games (read as, ties) are considered.

Last night the Phillies blew up that strategy. For at least one game Cliff Lee was the best pitcher still playing baseball. This complicates the Yankees’ plans. Girardi has stated he intends to bring CC out on short rest in game 4. Charlie Manuel has said he’ll counter each Sabathia start with Lee. Now we know why. Even though Cliff Lee has never before started on short rest in the Bigs, we can expect he’ll rise to the occasion.

The Yankees need to employ a new strategy to beat the Phillies. Rather than assume they can continue riding CC’s brilliance they need to leverage the relative weakness of the rest of the Phillies’ rotation.… Click here to read the rest

Hairston replaces Swisher

For Game 2 of the World Series, Jerry Hairston Jr. will start in right field over the struggling Nick Swisher. Hairston’s line against Pedro Martinez over 27 at-bats is .370/.433/.519. Of course, those at-bats are from years ago, when Pedro was with Boston and Hairston was with Baltimore, but Pedro was better back then, so maybe they’ll help Hairston tonight. Part of me wants to criticize Girardi for the move, as it smacks of desperation, but, to be honest, Swisher has looked awful at the plate—he’s practically diving on top of the ball before it gets to him—so I can’t complain (in Swisher’s defense, he did face Cliff Lee last night, who was damn near unhittable).

UPDATE – I’m left wondering, why not start Gardner or Hinske rather than rely upon dated stats?… Click here to read the rest

It appears Joe Girardi may be managing the Yankees out of Game 2 before a pitch has even been thrown

As per LoHud, tonight’s Yankee lineup apparently includes Jerry Hairston in right field in place of the struggling Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett’s personal caddy and offensive black hole Jose Molina.

I don’t necessarily disagree in theory with giving a guy like Swisher a break, considering how horrendous he’s looked at the plate, but I’m not certain Game 2 of the World Series is the time to do it, especially down 1-0. According to LoHud, Girardi “liked Hairston’s history of success against Pedro. He has eight hits in 24 ABs and a .907 OPS.”

This has Enrique Wilson written all over it, and I don’t like it one bit. Additionally, everyone assumed the Jose Molina experiment was finally over, given Burnett’s miserable 1st inning in Game 5 of the ALCS. It’s bad enough the Yankees’ eight other batters in the lineup are hitting like Jose Molina; now we get to have a full Molina nine.

I sure hope I’m wrong on this and Girardi’s questionable tactical moves actually pay off, but a 7/8/9 of Melky, Jerry Hairston and Jose Molina tonight with the team about to head to a National League park for three games and the Yankee offense sucking like its late October/early November 2001 does not exactly inspire a world of confidence.… Click here to read the rest

Warning: Broken Bridge

broken_bridge

From Sam Borden (LoHud):

As I said on Twitter, Phil Hughes ducked the media after walking two to lead off the eighth. Dave Eiland said Hughes tried to be “too perfect,” but expressed confidence the team will continue to utilize him in the same role. “Sure, why not,” Eiland said. “He’s had a heckuva lot more good outings than bad. We’re not going to throw the towel on him yet.”

At this point, “Sure, why not,” doesn’t really inspire much confidence nor does it sound at all convincing. Perhaps the Yankees would be better served piecing together a bridge to Mariano Rivera through matchups rather than set roles related to innings, with Damaso Marte and Phil Coke against lefties and either David Robertson, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain against the righties. Not only has Hughes lost his death grip on the 8th inning, specifically, but he has lost his grip on high leverage innings in general, therefore, the situation must be altered for winning’s sake.… Click here to read the rest

Defending D-Rob

From Adam Spunberg (YESNetwork.com):

Robertson is an amiable guy, but he let his affability extend to the Phillies today. After Marte came in and expertly navigated through two outs of a jam, Robertson proceeded to walk Jayson Werth and surrender a two-RBI single to Raul Ibanez. Good-natured Dave should offer to do CC Sabathia’s laundry for a week after muddying what had been a detergent-fresh start.

While Spunberg is correct in that David Robertson allowed a frustrating 2-out 2 RBI single after Damaso Marte had already pulled a rabbit out of a hat, I think placing this much blame upon him is absurd. Robertson allowed a weak single to Ibanez, that’s true, however, Phil Hughes had already walked two men—Rollins and Victorino—in that half inning and they were the two runs. The hit wouldn’t have mattered if Hughes had done his job (or if he had done even 1/3 of his job), but, then again, if that were the case, Robertson would not have been facing Raul Ibanez to begin with.… Click here to read the rest

World Series Game 1: Phillies 6, Yankees 1

In the top of the eighth, the Yankees sent Phil Hughes to the mound. He gave up a lead off walk to Jimmy Rollins who stole second while Shane Victorino was batting. Hughes walked Victorino and the Yankees quickly brought out Damaso Marte. Marte managed to freeze Utley with a curve to strike him out looking, for the first out of the inning. Howard flew out to right, letting Rollins advance to third and Marte’s night was over as Girardi signaled for David Robertson. Robertson walked Werth to load the bases for Ibanez, who poked a RBI single through the infield and into right field. Robertson got Ben Francisco to ground out to Alex Rodriguez, but the damage was done and Philadelphia held a 4-0 lead over the Yankees.

Brian Bruney, recently added to the World Series roster, started the top of the ninth. He gave up a double to Carlos Ruiz and a single to Rollins. Victorino singled to right, scoring Ruiz and Rollins scored on a Ryan Howard double.… Click here to read the rest