After the Yankees scored 24 runs the last two days in a pair of victories over the Astros, they were feeling pretty powerful heading into their clash with the Tigers. That is until they saw the lineup that was posted. Instead of the same nine that started the last two games, there was a severe shake-up in the heart of the order. Instead of the familiar 3-6 of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann the manager decided to give three of them the day off. The other, Teixeira, was the DH giving him half a day off.
It’s no coincidence that the Yankees were easily dominated by Jordan Zimmermann who allowed just two singles and three walks over seven shutout innings. Zimmermann is an extremely good pitcher, but he wasn’t facing nearly a full lineup today as the Tigers took care of the Yankees with a 4-0 victory. The Yankees managing just three measly singles in nine innings is pathetic on its own, but even more sad considering how dynamic the offense was the past 48 hours. That’s what made Joe Girardi’s decision to bench three of his four best power hitters so confusing.
The Yankees lineup is full of older players who are prone to breaking down. We all know they need many days of rest throughout the season. However, do they really need rest in game four? That’s a little extreme, no? Even taking into consideration that it was an early 1:00 PM start and the Yankees did get into Detroit pretty late, was it really wise to sit everyone at once? I could’ve understood giving McCann the game off seeing as he’s the catcher OR Beltran because he’s 38 and did play three straight days in the outfield OR Rodriguez because he’s 40… but not all three… at the same time… when they’re all hitting well… in the fourth game of the season.
I understand Girardi wants to keep his guys healthy and productive all season to avoid the end of year swoon the team suffered last August and September, but this was not the right way to go about it. If you really needed to sit players this early in the season, why not just sit one of the three each of the next three days and then DH Teixeira the day ARod isn’t playing? That way you still have a powerful heart of the order and you’re not basically just throwing away a game. I just didn’t get the lineup today and clearly it didn’t work.
In fairness to Girardi, it wasn’t just his questionable lineup that hurt the Yankees today. The bats he did have in the lineup didn’t do anything at all. Luis Severino had good stuff today but the Tigers had a great approach singling him to death. Also the defense wasn’t that great as Jacoby Ellsbury misplayed a ball in center that led to a big inning and Dustin Ackley had a few tough plays at first he couldn’t handle. Of course, if Teixeira is at first he probably makes those plays but it is what it is.
Anyway, today just wasn’t meant to be. The lineup was missing 33% of its juice and the team as a whole just didn’t play well. At least Johnny Barbato was extremely impressive out of the bullpen and Luis Cessa had a decent ML debut. Hopefully they show up tomorrow and support C.C. Sabathia as he takes on Mike Pelfrey. Let’s just hope the lineup is more substantial than it was today.