Before tonight’s ALCS opener, the Rangers made two changes to their roster.
Left-handed relievers Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman were added to the bullpen, replacing infielder Esteban German and right-hander Dustin Nippert. Neither has faced the Yankees very often. Curtis Granderson is the only Yankee with more than one at-bat against Kirkman, and Granderson is 1-for-2 against him. Robinson Cano has the most at-bats against Rapada. He’s 0-for-3.
The Rangers are carrying four left-handed relievers this series. They have three right-handers.
“It allows them to do a lot of matchups,” Joe Girardi said. “Against right-handers (starters) we separate out lefties more, so that makes it more difficult. They might bring in one lefty to face Robby, then go to a righty and bring in the lefties to face Grandy and Gardy. We’re OK with that.”
Girardi said there are “probably not” any pinch hitting moves he would make to compensate for the lefties. The only change would likely be Marcus Thames pinch hitting for Lance Berkman at some point. Otherwise, Girardi has become pretty comfortable with his left-handed hitters facing left-handed hitters. If necessary, he has the righty Austin Kearns on the bench.
I’ll have full pregame notes when I finish transcribing. Pretty funny stuff from Brian Cashman this afternoon.
Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz LF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Matt Treanor C
Jorge Cantu 1B