Granderson’s struggles are palpable. His second half had these putrid numbers: .212/.278/.480. The Orioles’ starter tonight is Joe Saunders, a left-handed pitcher. Granderson’s strikeout rate the entire season against left-handers is 31.9 percent. And again, Granderson has struck out six times in this series in twelve plate appearances. It seems that Granderson is always in an 0-2 or 1-2 hole. It seems that he cannot stop himself from swinging at a ball outside the strike zone for the third strike. It seems that at this point of the proceedings, a Russell Martin plate appearance is much more appealing.
So what should Joe Girardi do? Andruw Jones is not on the roster, nor should be. And even with his struggles, Granderson drove in 56 runs in the second half and led the Yankees in that category for the season. Without him in the lineup, the Yankees do not seem so circular or scary. But with him in the lineup, there has been a black hole where his name is penciled in.
Granderson’s second half has already made his long-term viability for the Yankees seem to be a difficult equation. And that same conundrum exists in this series against the Orioles. The bottom line is that the only other options are to put Ibanez in left and Ichiro in center. But that weakens the defense and both are left-handed batters anyway. And Brett Gardner simply does not have enough game reps to consider losing Granderson’s power possibilities from a risk standpoint.
As always, A-Rod is the lightning rod. But Curtis Granderson has been a non-entity in this series.