Joe Girardi spent a lot of time talking today about luck, a whether luck plays a role in a five-game series. Clearly the Yankees had a good offense this season (second-most runs in baseball) and clearly they had a productive offense in the division series (they outscored the Tigers 28-17) but some hits didn’t come at the right time.
“Please, make no mistake, Detroit wasn’t lucky,” Girardi said. “Detroit beat us. But some of your at-bats can be a product of just good fortune. You can get jammed and get a base hit, or you can hit a rocket and it gets caught. The bottom line is you have to have good at-bats. I thought our guys had some good at-bats. I do. We just didn’t get that big hit when we really needed it, whether it was the last day or Game 2 or Game 3. We just never got the one hit that kind of put us over the top. I’d have to go back and look at every at-bat to say whether it was a good at-bat, but the bottom line is we didn’t have enough good at-bats because we’re sitting here talking.”
Today, when Girardi talked about his pitchers, he talked a lot about next year. When he talked about his hitters, he focused on this year. He sounded like a man expecting to have more or less the same lineup next season.
Here’s the audio from today.
On whether he thinks Alex Rodriguez can play 145-150 games next season
“I do. His meniscus tear is kind of a freak thing. That’s not something that you necessarily worry about. If it’s a ligament or something that’s stretched, yeah, you worry. But meniscus tears happen all the time, people come back, and it’s something that can never happen again. But he is older, and it’s something that, as the manager, I have to manage. I have to manage his playing time.”
On the production of Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira this season
“Tex had 30 and 100, and Alex didn’t play for basically nine or 10 weeks this year. If he plays those nine or 10 weeks, does he have 30 and 100? He probably does. Alex is someone that we need to keep healthy. That’s first and foremost, then you can see exactly what you have. Players have to make adjustments at times, and I’m sure our players will try to make some adjustments to try to try to get their numbers back to what they’re used to having them at.”
On whether he could have changed the lineup in the division series
“These are guys that have done it for us all year. I guess I could have hit Gardy fourth, stack my lefthanders? But these are guys that have done it for you, and you expect they’re going to do it. The way it worked out, Gardy was productive where he was at, so we left him. We kept that Derek-Gardy thing together, which we like. And one of the reasons we kept the same lineup was that we faced four right-handers. Usually a lineup changes when you face right-handers or left-handers. Our lineup would have drastically changed if we faced left-handers. We just didn’t have one.
“Is there anything I would have done different? You can think about it, but you go into a series prepared, you have an idea of what you want to do. Sometimes things change because of the weather, or minor injury to a pitcher, or things that you have to do. I really liked our chances, but the bottom line is we didn’t get it done. And it starts with me.”
On the idea of Gardner hitting leadoff next season
“We’re going to look at everything and how it fits the best, our lineup. Derek, you look at his second-half numbers, he did a tremendous job and did a tremendous job in the leadoff role. But Gardy’s a guy that can create a lot of problems at the top of the order, and the only time they don’t hit together is the first time through the lineup, and then they’re together. I thought Gardy grew up in the playoffs some, I did. It’s something we’re going to look at.”
On the possibility of shaking up the middle of the order; keeping Cano third
“Those are all possibilities. You have all winter to think about different ways you can put your lineup together, longer than I would like. The other thing is, are we going to add? If we add someone, how do they fit into the lineup? These are definitely things I’ll think about all winter long. As we get closer to spring training, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to do because you’ll know exactly who you have.”
On whether Nick Swisher’s postseason struggles factor into the decision to bring him back next season
“I think when we sit down as a group we talk about everything. You don’t just take a two-week period or a month or two months, you look at everything and he’s been an on-base guy for us. He’s driven in runs. He’s hit home runs for us. I think he plays a better right field than people give him credit for, too. But as you look at your players and you try to improve your club and that’s something we always try to do, you have to take everything into account.”
On whether the Yankees need another Eric Chavez type to fill time at third
“I think Nuney can be that guy, because Nuney can play second, short or third. You might add a corner guy, possibly, who can play third and first and have some pop. I’m sure we’ll look at doing that just like we added Chavez this year. But I think Nuney’s a guy who can play all over for us. He might even play more positions for us next year.”
On the expectation for Derek Jeter
“We expect him to have another good year and be productive for us. To get beyond the injury he had, he came back and was sensational for us. Offensively, he played at a very high level. Defensively, he played very well for us. So you have those expectations. You hope that 5 months doesn’t necessarily change a whole lot of things. But when you’re an older player, people are always going to wonder. If he was 28, people would expect him to come back and do the same thing. But because he’s 37, people are always going to wonder. I know he’ll work very hard this year and try to keep himself in tremendous shape and be ready to go.”
Associated Press photos