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MLB Baltimore OriolesMLB PlayoffsNew York Yankees

Joe Girardi Needs To Shift The New York Yankees Lineup For Game 3

Brace Hemmelgarn – US Presswire

It’s time for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi to stop hoping a player’s salary will influence his on-field production.

This postseason, Alex Rodriguez has looked just terrible (10 PA, 5 K’s). Not that this is a surprise, considering he’s been one of the worst postseason hitters in Yankees history.

Resident comedian Nick Swisher – who continues to demonstrate that he is a complete and total bust in the postseason – has a .167/.333/.167 slash. All you fans crowing to have Swish resigned for his  likability and regular season production should probably be quiet now. The guy can’t hit when it really matters, plain and simple.

These are the Yankees three and five hitters for Game one and Game two of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. They are the bats that are supposed to be protecting Robinson Cano.

If that wasn’t enough, the one lineup move Girardi did make that has panned out – batting Curtis Granderson seventh – is one Yankees fans wish didn’t prevail. Granderson looks completely lost (one total base – an intentional walk – in two games), and seems to have regressed significantly.

Now, part of the blame lies with the players – when you see A-Rod coming up with men on base, you’re no longer hopeful that he’ll put one into the left field seats; instead, you’re left wondering how ridiculous he will look striking out on a slider in the dirt. That said part of it also lies with Girardi and his refusal to shake things up.

It’s no secret that Girardi is a creature of habit. He sticks with his game plan, for better or for worse, and many times it comes to fruition and the Yankees pull out a win. However, you have to wonder how long he will continue to approach playoff games as though he has all the time in the world to correct mistakes. This lineup is not working. Right now, batting A-Rod third is like batting Brett Gardner third—neither player is going to put the Orioles on their heels. While former Yankees manager Joe Torre was criticized for bruising the egos of some of his players – he famously batted A-Rod eighth against the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 ALDS – at least he had the gall to recognize when something wasn’t working and tried to fix it. Maybe the same can’t be said for Torre and his bullpen woes, but that’s another story altogether.

The Yankees return to the Bronx tomorrow night for Game 3 with Hiroki Kuroda set to take the mound. Kuroda’s had solid results against the Orioles this season, pitching a combined 15.1 innings over two starts with a 2.93 ERA, 7 K’s, 1 BB, and a 0.848 WHIP. Regardless, the Orioles will be riding an adrenaline high, and the Yankees need to come out swinging.

Girardi needs to act immediately. It’s time to stop making sure everyone is having fun in the sandbox, and concentrate more on presenting the most functional lineup available. Otherwise, they’ll be watching the Orioles move onto the ALCS and wondering what went wrong, even though the answer is apparent to every other spectator with a half-a-brain and a corner of the internet to state his or her opinion, solicited or not.

Make it happen, Joe.

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