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Pregame notes: “It’s not like I’m trying to make something up”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 08, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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Years ago, when he was a broadcaster, Joe Girardi had a conversation with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. The topic: La Russa’s preference for defying conventional wisdom by batting the pitcher eighth.

“I played for Tony,” Girardi said. “I knew everything Tony did was well thought out. I was just curious about his reasoning, and it made sense to me.”

The decision to bat David Phelps eighth tonight, Girardi said, was based on two things.

1. The Yankees best available pinch hitters are Travis Hafner and Brennan Boesch, two lefties. Essentially, late in the game, the pitcher’s spot in the order will be — most likely — a left-handed hitter, and Girardi wanted to avoid having three lefties in a row.

2. Robinson Cano is batting second to maximize his at-bats, and have a non-pitcher in the No. 9 spot means there are two traditional hitters batting in front of Cano the second time through the order.

“It’s not like I’m trying to reinvent the game,” Girardi said. “It’s not like I’m trying to make something up. I’m trying to maximize our pinch hitters and the people I have in our lineup. That’s the bottom line. So how do you do that? If you had some right-handed bats you could put between the lefties, you don’t worry about it as much. We don’t have that, so you’re trying to get the hitters who have had the most success off of right-handers up the most, and you’re also trying to make it more complicated for the other manager to navigate through your lineup. And sometimes you have to do some things that may be a little bit unorthodox, but you’ve got to do it.”

The video above is Girardi talking a little more about his decision to bat the pitcher eighth, which he said is likely to happen again tomorrow.

Curtis Granderson• Curtis Granderson is going to start a Triple-A rehab assignment tomorrow. Girardi said Granderson will continue to play all three outfield positions, but there is still no announced return date. Sounds like it will be a matter of weeks, not days. “When he’s ready, he’s ready,” Girardi said. “I’m not going to put a date on it or a number of at-bats. A lot of it is how he’s feeling, how his body is responding to playing day after day, how he feels in the box, if he’s swinging well. You hope that he can see some left handers as well, that its’ not just strictly right handers. Anyone who wants to use their left handed relievers against him, that’s all right with me.”

• Eduardo Nunez tried to play catch today but again felt some discomfort in his rib cage. He’s not available tonight and probably won’t be tomorrow.

• Ivan Nova came through his extended spring training start healthy, but he was erratic which leaves some uncertainty about whether the Yankees will activate him for Monday’s double header. “He was wild,” Girardi said. “I think he had four walks, threw four-plus innings, 73 pitches, his velocity was good, but I don’t think he was extremely sharp. What that does for us Monday, I can’t tell you yet. We’ll have to figure it out.”

• Girardi said it’s possible, if he doesn’t use them between now and then, that either Adam Warren or Vidal Nuno could start a game on Monday. It’s also worth noting that there’s a solid chance tonight’s game is going to be rained out, likely forcing a double header tomorrow.

• Kevin Youkilis is still pretty inactive. “I guess he feels better,” Girardi said. “But he’s not doing a whole lot yet.”

• Girardi said he had a conversation with Austin Romine to make sure Romine understood the strategy of today’s lineup decision, that by batting Romine ninth Girardi is counting on Romine’s ability to get on base. “I just told him, ‘It has nothing to do with you, but the strategy of the game,’” Girardi said. “He was OK with it. I explained it to him.”

Associated Press photos

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44 Responses to “Pregame notes: “It’s not like I’m trying to make something up””

  1. Captain Clutch May 8th, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    The Yanks need to leave Nova in AAA for as long as he needs so he can figure things out. It sounds like they are going to bring him back for one of the doubleheader games. That’s fine if he is going to go back to AAA after the start. Otherwise I really don’t like the move. He was terrible before the injury and Phelps deserves to start over him. They can’t keep sending him out there and ignore his issues and think they will be solved over night.

  2. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Just checked.

    90% chance of rain in Denver tonight.

    :(

  3. luis May 8th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Well… I must say that I agree with Girardi’s reasoning… Not because of the right/lefty splits, but by giving Cano more chances to find men on base

  4. MG May 8th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    A rainout tonight means the Yankees will need 2 additional starters for the doubleheader on Monday, not jut one.

    That would make this an even tougher road trip than it already is…

  5. ac1 May 8th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Youkilis seems more than a week away so I really hope the Yankees think long and hard about bringing up David Adams (15th) and/or Musty (ASAP). Boesch and Francisco are not needed and Chris Nelson will not be needed either.

    Granderson/Musty/Adams for Boesch/Francisco/Nelson

  6. luis May 8th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Shame,

    If you are still around, about previous thread… Ignore that kind of trash

  7. tbone1570 May 8th, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    luis May 8th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Well… I must say that I agree with Girardi’s reasoning… Not because of the right/lefty splits, but by giving Cano more chances to find men on base

    ———————————————————————
    If Cano was hitting in the three hole or clean up (he belongs in either in this line up) then he would have the the opportunity of more men on base, even in his first at bat. In this line up he misses that opportunity in the first.

  8. luis May 8th, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    True T-bone…But if he is going to play him on the 2 spot… Putting Romine in the 9th makes sense.

  9. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I see Girardi is trying to fool the Rockies into thinking they are playing the Cardinals? :D

  10. Shame Spencer May 8th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    luis May 8th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Shame,

    If you are still around, about previous thread… Ignore that kind of trash

    ———————

    *sigh* I know, I let my love for the muppets (and Erica!) blind me..

  11. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Another thing,

    With this lineup, I don’t blame him for putting him there… He is trying to give him more at bats, therefore more chances to score. Even if it is only one run

  12. ac1 May 8th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    this red sox game is going to go into tomorrow at this rate

  13. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    70% chance of rain for Denver tomorrow.

    oh sh*t.

    :(

  14. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    The Girardi obsession with number of LHH in a row has become comical.

    You need to beat the starter before you worry about chess games in the later innings.

    Girardi is too worried about tactics at the expense of strategy.

    More counterpoints:

    How about increasing Cano’s chances of having men on base the first time he comes up?

    How about the fact that you have just increased the chance of the pitcher coming up with men on base instead of a position player in the first 2/3 of the game before the pitcher needs to be taken out?

    If you are worried about maximizing at bats for the better players, why is Wells hitting ahead of Overbay vs a rhp? Oh, right, have to break up the LHH… *smh*

  15. ac1 May 8th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    70% chance of rain for Denver tomorrow.
    ___

    The less games we have to play with this lineup the better IMO. If tomorrow gets rained out, the make up will come later this year and we may have a full team by then.

  16. tbone1570 May 8th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Luis hole, move ,

    Genius Joe is compounding his errors with this line up. Cano shouldn’t be hitting second (but he is) and that is impacting the rest of his line up construction. He doesn’t want to stack his lefty’s for the late innings, but he already has done that with this line up. IMO, if you want Cano to hit second, Nix would be a better option to hit in back of the pitcher and move Romine up to Nix’s spot.

  17. blake May 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    “Jeter’s intangibles and leadership are what make him a Hall of Famer.”

    This quote from the Jeter article linked in the previous thread……

    It’s kinda funny how Jeters intangibles have some how overshadowed the tangible part about him being awesome and having over 3,300 hits

  18. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Twinkies destroying the Sux.

    9-5 now.

  19. Doreen May 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Luis -

    From last thread, thanks. :)

    the way I see it, at least he’s trying something. He has reasoning behind his moves, whether we agree or not, and he is at least as aware as all of us that he’s playing with a compromised team right now.

    He doesn’t have the switch hitters he has had lo those many years prior to this one; he’s short-handed (if they had a SS ready to go, Nunez would certainly be on the DL), and really two guys down, because Hafner is one-dimensional (even if he does well at that one dimension) and has only once chance per game to make an impact if necessary.

    Hopefully these next two weeks or so will be the toughest part of the season.

    A rainout will be awful….

  20. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    JS,

    On a regular lineup I would agree with you… But this lineups are so bad, that maybe increasing Cano’s at bats might mean one or two more runs

  21. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Additionally, putting Wells behind Cano instead of Overbay (check out their OPS vs rhp) increases the chance of them pitching around by far our best hitter, Cano.

  22. ac1 May 8th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Twinkies destroying the Sux.

    9-5 now.
    ___

    Dont get excited yet.
    Twins were up 4-0 in the first and by the end of the first it was 5-4 Boston.
    Boston hasn’t even come up in the 2nd yet…..

    Could be 15-15 by the end of the inning.

  23. tbone1570 May 8th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    *Luis,

    Genius Joe is compounding his errors with this line up. Cano shouldn’t be hitting second (but he is) and that is impacting the rest of his line up construction. He doesn’t want to stack his lefty’s for the late innings, but he already has done that with this line up. IMO, if you want Cano to hit second, Nix would be a better option to hit in back of the pitcher and move Romine up to Nix’s spot.

  24. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Make that 11.

    :)

  25. ac1 May 8th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    11-5 in the top of the 2nd….
    WOW
    Hope it doesn’t start raining again.

  26. Doreen May 8th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    and I have to say, it is really about time they make some kind of rule change with respect to the DH now that they have interleague play interspersed throughout the season and not just for one stretch, and expect there to possibly be more.

    Oh, well, that will never happen.

  27. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    T bone, could you clarify the Luis hole, move,?

  28. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    luis, actually I think the opposite, the way the lineup is, you have to maximize Cano’s chance of success by having two hitters in front of him including the first time he comes up, and minimizing the chance of them pitching around him by putting their next best hitter vs rhp behind him (right now that’s definitely Overbay).

    Anyway, I know one thing, if they score well tonight, it won’t be because of this lineup.

  29. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Only consolation Webster has is that he knows Dubrunt sucks as bad as him.

    :)

  30. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    On the Nix and Romine part, we agree

  31. Triple Short of a Cycle May 8th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Guess the refs want the Rangers to win tonight.

  32. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    JS,

    He is going to be pitched around anyway… That’s what I meant by one run… With one extra at bat, he may have a better chance to hit one out

  33. tbone1570 May 8th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Luis,

    That was, regrettably, a very bad typo. I don’t intend to call you any names or imply anything like that.

    Again, my apologies for the typo!

  34. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Before today’s game Boston had a team ERA of 3.55.

    After tonight it might go up a tad.

    And don’t look now cause here come the Showaltimores.

    ;)

  35. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    NP tbone…. It happens

  36. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I think hitting Cano makes more sense if everyone is healthy and the lineup is stacked, and you have better hitters like Cervelli and Gardner hitting 8/9.

    Of course, now that I’ve said all this, Phelps will probably go 3 for 3 with 7 rbi or something…

  37. tbone1570 May 8th, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I appreciate it Luis, you’re a good man!

  38. luis May 8th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    JS,

    LOL!!!

  39. J. Alfred Prufrock May 8th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Ofcourse he’s going to be pitched around anywAy. There isn’t one hitter in that lineup regardless Of cOndiguration who would give a manager pause when it comes to pitching around Cano. Maybe Hafner in NYS would make mgr think twice. Youkilis when he was going well migrh have made you pay for it but they’ll take their chances anywY

  40. trisha - true pinstriped blue May 8th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Holy Lord – Sux losing 11-6, bottom of the 2nd. Things sure haven’t been the same since the spotlight was shined on the cheating arms of the Chucky Doll and Tazawa.

    GO TWINS!!!

  41. jacksquat May 8th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Something like this I’m more on board with Cano hitting 2nd:

    Jeter – SS
    Cano – 2B
    Arod – 3B
    Hafner – DH
    Youkilis – 1B
    Granderson – CF
    Wells – LF
    Ichiro – RF
    Cervelli – C

  42. blake May 8th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    @mikeaxisa: Tim Lincecum’s dad commented on RAB once upon a time too: http://t.co/S5zd3Zd1aj

    Read

  43. MTU May 8th, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve got the Rox feed on.

    They’re grooming the field. Tarp is off.

    Tulo is not going to play.

  44. Bo knows May 8th, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I do like Ovy at 1B, very smooth. Gardner is just fast.

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