Girardi’s lineup was fine, but I would have played ARod over Chavez. Mostly because Chavez was 0-11 and ARod had hit 2 dingers off of Verlander this year. I was very much in favor of playing Gardner because he gives you better defense if he didn’t hit. I would not have led him off, I would have batted him 9th. As it turned out Chavez made a nice pick for a DP with Cabrera up and he also misplayed a ball into an error that scored a run, so he didn’t do the job. Gardner, didn’t hit (but should have walked instead of swinging at 2-3 balls-it was obvious he didn’t have his eye down yet). Gardner did save a hit though as none of the fielders would have made the catch on the ball he came in for.
Hughes did OK, but made a terrible pitch to Young and hung a slider after the ump blew a call right down the middle on a pitch he was trying to get inside. If the ump called that a strike the homer might never have happened. The ump also gave verlander far too many outside pitches (even though that stupid box is too far to the left – meaning you need to move the box to the right so all those outside pitches to the lefty would be juts a little outside). Actually, that box just simply isn’t that accurate and someone needs to fix it because it is annoying. Anyway, I felt we were getting the short side of almost all the calls behind home plate.
I have no idea why Joe didn’t walk Cabrera with first base open, but Cabrera made us pay knocking in the 2nd run.
The rest of the game we were sleep walking at the plate again, until the 9th. Verlander made a lot of bad pitches to Nunez and finally he got on fair and hit a HR. Not sure why they didn’t throw him more fastballs? Then after Gardner got out (he had one very hittable pitch but hit it foul), they brought in Phil Coke. Coke has an OPS of .685 against lefties and 1.050 against righties and Ichiro is up. I would have pinch hit ARod for Ichiro for a few reasons, although Ichiro has been our best average hitter and it is a risk, but here was my reasoning. 1) Ichiro is a little better against righties, 2) Coke is very tough on lefties and righties crush him, 3) if they make a move to their closer then if Tex gets on, Cano and Ibanez face a righty, 4) better chance for a HR, and 5) ARod has been hitting lefties even in the postseason. Therefore, it is a move to help the lefties as well even if ARod gets out. Joe stuck with Ichiro, which I do understand, and then you do have Tex facing Coke (which is another reason to leave in Ichiro), but I would have made the move. Ichiro got out, but Tex and Cano both singled. Now the other tough decision, do you leave the lefty Ibanez who really can’t hit lefties, but did get the one hit and has had some huge AB’s? I answered I would pinch hit, and the people around me were split. ARod does hit lefties well and I would have liked them to make a move; if they did, I would have brought in Swisher to face their closer if they made a move. Ibanez really does not hit lefties and Coke is tough on them and that was my thinking. I will admit though that Joe doesn’t have no doubt decisions here and he decided to go with the hot hand and eschew the statistical splits…one can’t scream about that; but I would have made a move with Ibanez being so awful against lefties for the year. Fortunately Ibanez got some very hittable pitches and in good counts, but unfortunately he couldn’t square them up. I called the slider and said if he can put it anywhere close to the outside corner this game will be over…unfortunately Coke delivered on the pitch and Ibanez swung to end the threat and make the season hang by a thread.
Lost in this offensive drought was a very nice job by Logan who looked very sharp. Time for us to do what the Red Sox did to us…at least Cano got a hit!