The Lineup – who says we all have to agree here?

The Yankees have lived and died with this cast of characters all season either hitting homers or stranding runners. It has been a season as hard on the emotions and nerves as any in recent memory. These are the guys you have paid millions of dollars to have in your lineup. These are the guys you nursed along through injuries to be healthy for this moment. You continue to live and die with them. Doing so this season has led to a first place finish in the division and to a fifth game, winner-take-all scenario. The odds are about 50/50 no matter who the Yankees trot out there. Despite swinging air balls the entire second half, Curtis Granderson did hit 20 homers in that same time frame. Do you really want to sit that kind of possible explosion? Are the Orioles going to sit Mark Reynolds because he has struck out 37 percent of the time this series? Heck no.

And the reason is that despite all the air swings, Reynolds can win the game with one swing.  So can Curtis Granderson. So can Alex Rodriguez. They may not. The odds are against it judging from what we’ve seen. But you have to go with what brought you to this point. You have to go with your horses.

Derek Jeter has to play shortstop so that Ibanez can DH. Eric Chavez has not exactly looked prolific in this series with the few chances he has seen. The Yankees did not bring Eric Chavez in for a few lousy million to pin the entire hopes of the season on his shoulders. You have to win or lose this game with your best players.

I will continue to maintain that a short series is a random series of events that cannot be predicted based on the season or even the second half. Saying so would be like saying that this series is showing who Joe Saunders really is. Well, he isn’t. This series has not shown us the normal Joe Saunders. His success is a random event in that he executed a game plan to perfection and succeeded.

The Yankees have to hitch their wagon to the horses that they hoped to have in place in such a scenario. They may win. They may lose. But you do it with your best players no matter how much they have struggled to this point. Orioles’ pitching has really done a remarkable job of keeping the Yankees off balance and avoiding the heart of the plate. A Yankees win is just a few mistakes away. But then again, so it is for the Orioles. All we can do is watch and see how it all plays out.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

8 thoughts on “The Lineup – who says we all have to agree here?

  1. forged

    I like the counter-point of your post to Brien's. Thanks.

  2. jay_robertson

    Sadly, true. All season long I've heard sss, and that home runs -> rispfail; or, they at least cancel it out.

    IF Joe were to sit every batter doing poorly, he'd have to come up with at least 5 or more new faces. Nix worked as one; Ibanez, if you can stand his defense. Beyond that – what? Nunez, and who? There aren't enough warm bodies on the roster to sub for guys that aren't hitting.

    The team on the field got us here; they deserve a chance to either win or stink on their own merits.

    The LAST thing I want is for Grandy, Cano, or A-Rod to be able to whine all winter "If only I'd been in the lineup." Good or Bad, they ARE the team. Pinch hitting in the 9th is quite a bit different than benching someone. That's Captain Kneejerk talking.

  3. JEP

    All good points. And I understand the "you dance with the date that brought you" argument, and a short series is pretty much a crapshoot. But the postseason IS different from the regular season, and Girardi should manage differently. His job is to give his team the best chance to win this one game. Yeah Granderson and A-Rod could hit one out at any minute, but Ibanez and Chavez could, too. And it's not just that those two are "scufflling" like most of the team–they can't even make contact. I especially think A-Rod should be benched because of the righty starter.

    In 96 the Yankees sat Tino in favor of Fielder, and in 77 (?) Billy Martin sat Reggie for Lou Piniella. Both worked out pretty well.

  4. Dan McCloskey

    I'd agree with you if we were simply talking about players who are healthy but slumping. But, if A-Rod is still struggling as he tries to come back from a wrist injury, and there is a right-handed pitcher on the mound, then considering Chavez in his place is a viable option.

    Chavez hit .298/.365/.543 vs. RHP this year, A-Rod .256/.326/.391. This is over 250 PAs for each we're talking about.

    Obviously, only A-Rod knows for sure if his wrist is still affecting his ability to hit, and Girardi probably knows better than we do. But, if the wrist is a factor, then "dance with the date that brought you" does not necessarily apply.

    • williamjtasker

      Girardi apparently agrees with you both. Chavez is playing and A-Rod is benched. We'll just have to see how it works.

      • jay_robertson

        bad mistake. can't believe Joe is "managing for the press."

  5. Moskva81

    Sure granderson could go 5-5 tonight and hit for the cycle but that will not happen. It won't – he's having trouble making contact with the ball and/or seeing more than 3-4 pitches in an a-bat. so let's not kid ourselves. Ibanez can end a game in one swing too – so let's start him.

    • jay_robertson

      As can Martin. Or anyone else, in any at bat. Sure would have been nice if one of those "anyones" had stepped up last night – then the geezers could have had a day of rest.

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