The New York Yankees just had one of the most incredible wins in recent history in the postseason. Down 2-1 to the Baltimore Orioles, Raul Ibanez tied the game with a solo shot off closer Jim Johnson. When he came back up in the bottom of the 12th he played hero yet again, smashing a walk-off home run to right field off Brian Matusz. The funny, ironic, and almost awesome part of all this? Ibanez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez in the 9th.
Joe Girardi looked like a genius with the move, but he has the chance to make an even bolder and probably smarter move. He should bench A-Rod for the rest of this series, and for that matter the rest of the postseason.
A-Rod’s numbers in this series alone warrant a benching, and at the very least a move to the lower end of the lineup. He is hitting 1-12 with seven strikeouts. For someone who got $275 million in his contract, that’s not cutting it. Hell, that doesn’t cut it for a guy making the bar minimum.
The move wouldn’t cause any adjustments in the field either, as Eric Chavez played third tonight and A-Rod was the DH. Girardi needs to seriously consider benching A-Rod for Ibanez long term.
I mean I don’t know why this move hasn’t come sooner. Ibanez also came through in the clutch in the AL East clinching game in the regular season. He hit a two-run homer in bottom of the ninth and then hit a walk-off single in the 12th in that game against the Boston Red Sox.
Oddly enough, he was a pinch hitter in that game too. Clearly Ibanez has more stones in the clutch and deserves to be in the lineup. He had a .311 OBP in September with three homers and seven RBIs in mostly a reserve role. A-Rod had a .325 OBP with three homers and 10 RBIs in the same stretch starting all but three games. That’s not that much better.
Ibanez is not a world-beater, but he’s better than A-Rod right now. When a guy has only one extra base hit in his last 75 or so at-bats, it may be time to ignore who he is and play the best lineup you can. Make the call Girardi, and close out the Orioles in Game 4.