I don’t blame Joe Girardi for sticking with Raul Ibanez against Phil Coke in the top of the ninth in Game 3 of the ALCS.
The numbers game suggest Girardi should’ve opted for a right-hander batter, say A-Rod, given righties torched Coke to the tune of .396/.446/.604 during the regular season.
Ibanez, however, has been the best clutch hitter on the Yankees this postseason, and arguably the only hitter on the Yankees in October. Seriously, who else would New York want at the plate with the game-tying run on second base?
If it’s Aroldis Chapman on the mound, it’s a different story. But Coke is far from a ‘lights-out’ closer or unhittable ‘loogy.’
After all, Teixeira and Cano (another left-handed hitter) both singled in front of Ibanez leaving no reason to believe the hot-hitting 40-year-old couldn’t drive in the tying run.
Girardi’s decision to stay with the lefty-lefty matchup is no worse than him choosing to leave Rodriguez, hitting an ice-cold 2-for-23, on the bench.
Ibanez, of course, struck out to end the game. But it was ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ for the Yankees’ skipper.
Let’s not forget, either, how right Joe was turning the table earlier this postseason when he pinch-hit Ibanez for A-Rod. A hero when it worked, the goat when it doesn’t.
Yet, regardless of whether you believe Girardi made the right move or the wrong one, it’s no fault of Girardi’s his team is hitting a ghastly .182 in October.
What’s a manager to do–pinch-hit the entire lineup?