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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ibanez homers in the ninth and 12th to stun the O’s in Game 3

That was a stunning, stunning loss for the Orioles.

Miguel Gonzalez pitched his heart out. Two rookies homered. They were two outs away from a win and they lost 3-2 in 12 innings as the Yankees take a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series.

The Yankees pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for Alex Rodriguez, a $29 million dollar player this year, and Ibanez homered in the ninth to tie the game and in the 12th to win it.

Two swings, two homers, one devastating loss for Baltimore.

Ibanez stepped in for Rodriguez, who was 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the series, in the ninth and homered with one out off O’s closer Jim Johnson to tie the game 2-2.

He hit the first pitch of the last of the 12th - a pitch up in the zone from Brian Matusz - to give New York a walk-off win. It was the first walk-off loss for the Orioles all year and ended their 16-game winning streak in extra innings. All three of their extra-inning losses have come against New York.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, yankees

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   1. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4263015)
Leon.

############# Leon.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY MOTHER!
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4263031)
Not sure anything could have made a better game. Maybe if it had been against Boston.
   3. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4263033)
It didn't FEEL like a great game, but what a ####### ending. Better than my first Yankee game where, IIRC, Brosius hit a walk off 3 run homer down the LF line, but not as "holy ####### ####\" as the Jeter faceplant game, despite the stakes.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4263035)
Orioles lose yet another game that was molded in their style and geared towards their "skill" in winning one-run or extra-innings games, or games they lead in the late innings.

Is it time yet to talk about how their problem is offense, and with a subpar offense it's difficult to win games?

   5. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4263046)
Which team are you talking about, Ray?

It's not like the first three Yankee pitchers didn't have very good years.
   6. Gamingboy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4263129)
########. ########.
   7. Gamingboy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4263150)
Although, come to think of it, it's good that the Yankees are around, as it allows me direct my rage easily. If the Orioles just lost that game to, say, Oakland, there'd be no easy target to send out my rage.
   8. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4263155)
I hate the Yankees like any self-respecting A's fan but, man, Ibanez was ####### amazing.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:12 AM (#4263157)
Well, now it's the second-best finish of the night.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:15 AM (#4263162)
Heroes of the day:

1. Oakland A's
2. Baby walrus
3. Ibanez
   11. puck Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4263164)
Well, now it's the second-best finish of the night.

I don't know, a zombie walkoff is a big deal.
   12. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4263167)
Pinch hit for who?
   13. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:29 AM (#4263176)
I don't think I've said this enough yet, so...

Raul ####### Ibanez. ####### hell.
   14. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4263180)
It also annoys me that whenever the Tigers are in the playoffs, they play a team that makes most of the sabermetric community root against them. It's not like the Tigers have been some dominant team that's boringly there in October every year.
   15. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM (#4263181)
And congratulations to the A's and their fans, who I certainly have nothing against in any way.
   16. Srul Itza At Home Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:05 AM (#4263186)
Three pitches, two swings, two home runs.
   17. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:05 AM (#4263187)
Wow. What a ####### night of baseball.
   18. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4263188)
It also annoys me that whenever the Tigers are in the playoffs, they play a team that makes most of the sabermetric community root against them. It's not like the Tigers have been some dominant team that's boringly there in October every year.


I don't think this is necessarily true. You've got the A's twice and who else? Texas? I think it's sort of cancelled out by the two series against the Yankees and, to some extent, the 2006 WS.
   19. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:43 AM (#4263189)
Maybe. It seemed like a lot of saberites wanted Texas to win, because they were the best team and were supposed to win the World Series. But it's true that they're always preferred against the Yankees and against 83-win NL champions.
   20. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:44 AM (#4263190)
Is it time yet to talk about how their problem is offense, and with a subpar offense it's difficult to win games?

The O's have been HR reliant all season. That story normally gets swept under the rug because JJ normally slams the door.
   21. RollingWave Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4263191)
The O's have been HR reliant all season. That story normally gets swept under the rug because JJ normally slams the door.


It's hard to argue that the O's been more HR reliant than the Yankees all year. of course the Yankees' issue is rarely ever sweeped under the rug even when they are doing well.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:09 AM (#4263193)
Ibanez stepped in for Rodriguez

Apparently Girardi's #### works in the playoffs.
   23. RollingWave Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:19 AM (#4263194)
@22

Don't worry, he'll pull an effective 90 pitch Hughes tomorrow in the 6th for Boone Logan against a weak hitting lefty and predictablly gets blasted.
   24. phatj Posted: October 11, 2012 at 06:08 AM (#4263207)
Nice to see A-Rod waiting on the top step.
   25. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 11, 2012 at 06:49 AM (#4263210)
Will nothing prevent the unremitting evil of a Cardinals-Yankees World Series?

Apocalypse, indeed.
   26. zonk Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:38 AM (#4263243)
Will nothing prevent the unremitting evil of a Cardinals-Yankees World Series?

Apocalypse, indeed.


I will ####### burn baseball to the ground before I allow that to transpire.
   27. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4263244)
I'll double Walt's #22. This may have been the single greatest managerial move ever; it's at least in the top few of one-game strategy things. If Chavez weren't already in the game, the PH opportunity probably would have gone to him (there's also the matter of whether A-Rod was playing third or DHing; if he was playing third, I don't think he comes out of the game). If Rod had made three loud outs instead of three terrible ones, no manager would have pinch-hit for him. Even as it was, it is moderately gutsy to pinch-hit for him in that situation (I don't think I would have, for instance). And the move turned out unbelievably, spectacularly well.
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4263252)
Ibanez is about the baldest ballplayer I've ever seen. Even though he shaves his head, there was enough stubble on his dome last night to see that he's ordinarily Peter Boyle-ish.
   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4263253)
I'll double Walt's #22. This may have been the single greatest managerial move ever;

Pinch-hitting Ibanez for A-Rod in that spot was one of those moves that was so screamingly obvious that I have a hard time seeing it as any act of genius. A tough right handed pitcher, a left handed slugger with a hot hand vs. a right handed hitter in a complete batting funk---I'd have been screaming for Girardi's head if he hadn't done it, even if Ibanez had struck out on three pitches.
   30. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4263259)
"complete batting funk", yes. But if you have one of the top ten home run hitters of all time on your team and he comes up in the ninth trailing by a run, pulling that trigger had to have been hard.

I'd bet a mortgage payment today that both of them - A-Rod and Ibanez - are in the lineup.
   31. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4263264)
What an awful pitch by Johnson. Just laid it down Broadway. He's got to be aware of Ibanez' power; Ibanez' just did the same thing against Bailey last week in the 9th. Keep the ####### ball away from him for crissakes.

Johnson's picked the wrong time to implode: 51 saves in the regular season, a 10.38 ERA in this series. Nice timing jackass.
   32. DKDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4263265)
Is it time yet to talk about how their problem is offense, and with a subpar offense it's difficult to win games?


It's also difficult to win games when your CF nonchalants a routine flyball into an RBI triple.

I'll focus on the positives that will be forgotten because of Adam's flub and Baldy's meatballs:

That was an incredible outing by Gonzalez. 8 Ks and no BBs and what should have been 7 shutout innings. He did everything that was asked of him and more.

The two rookies hitting home runs is pretty cool. The young O's do not seem intimindated by the big stage.

The O's hit a lot of line drives that found gloves. That line drive double play in the 10th was a killer, but there were a lot of good at bats that showed up as outs in the box score. The same thing happened to the Yankees in game two, so I guess this was payback.

Now it's time to put the hurt on Hughes, and solve Sabathia on Friday. It's not going to be easy, but crazier things have happened (see Raul Ibanez).
   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4263266)
"complete batting funk", yes. But if you have one of the top ten home run hitters of all time on your team and he comes up in the ninth trailing by a run, pulling that trigger had to have been hard.

I know it's heresy around here, but A-Rod basically can't hit in the postseason; even the outlier of 2009 is overrated. There's no use waiting around for him to get going when he isn't going to get going.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4263270)
Is it time yet to talk about how their problem is offense, and with a subpar offense it's difficult to win games?
The Orioles have a pretty good offense. Not great, but above average. Their bench was terrible this year, dragging their overall team hitting numbers down, but that matters very little in the postseason. 2B is a black hole, but the rest of the starting lineup is average to above average.

The Orioles have pretty good hitting and pretty good pitching. They look like an 85-88 win team if they played a full season with the current roster. I don't think there's anything particularly weird about the team they have right now that suggests they should absolutely get destroyed by the Yankees, but I don't think there's a talent level there that makes them meaningful favorites against anyone else remaining in the playoffs.
   35. bobm Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4263274)
[21]

BAL 2012: 337 RBI on 214 HR; 677 total RBI - 49.8%
NYY 2012: 389 RBI on 245 HR; 774 total RBI - 50.3%
   36. bobm Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4263283)
2012, HR = 0
                        
Rk    Tm #Matching  W  L
1    NYY        31  7 24
2    BAL        44 13 31
3    OAK        46 16 30
4    CHW        47 11 36
5    TEX        47 18 29
6    TOR        49 14 35
7    WSN        54 21 33
8    MIL        55 13 42
9    TBR        55 16 39
10   LAA        56 24 32
11   ARI        57 17 40
12   BOS        58 14 44
13   DET        61 25 36
14   SEA        61 21 40
15   PHI        63 20 43
16   PIT        63 23 40
17   COL        65 18 47
18   ATL        67 26 41
19   CIN        67 27 40
20   HOU        69 10 59
21   NYM        69 21 48
22   STL        69 25 44
23   CLE        70 20 50
24   CHC        72 20 52
25   MIN        73 21 52
26   MIA        75 22 53
27   KCR        76 28 48
28   LAD        81 30 51
29   SDP        81 31 50
30   SFG        91 45 46


   37. bobm Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4263288)
2012, HR >= 1

                        
Rk    Tm #Matching  W  L
1    NYY       131 88 43
                        
2    BAL       118 80 38
                        
3    OAK       116 78 38
                        
4    TEX       115 75 40
5    CHW       115 74 41
                        
6    TOR       113 59 54
                        
7    WSN       108 77 31
                        
8    TBR       107 74 33
9    MIL       107 70 37
                        
10   LAA       106 65 41
                        
11   ARI       105 64 41
                        
12   BOS       104 55 49
                        
13   SEA       101 54 47
14   DET       101 63 38
                        
15   PIT        99 56 43
16   PHI        99 61 38
                        
17   COL        97 46 51
                        
18   CIN        95 70 25
19   ATL        95 68 27
                        
20   STL        93 63 30
21   NYM        93 53 40
22   HOU        93 45 48
                        
23   CLE        92 48 44
                        
24   CHC        90 41 49
                        
25   MIN        89 45 44
Rk    Tm #Matching  W  L
                        
26   MIA        87 47 40
                        
27   KCR        86 44 42
                        
28   SDP        81 45 36
29   LAD        81 56 25
                        
30   SFG        71 49 22
   38. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4263291)
Four more games today! This week is awesome.
   39. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4263292)

Johnson's picked the wrong time to implode


I don't see it that way.
   40. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4263299)
Pinch-hitting Ibanez for A-Rod in that spot was one of those moves that was so screamingly obvious that I have a hard time seeing it as any act of genius. A tough right handed pitcher, a left handed slugger with a hot hand vs. a right handed hitter in a complete batting funk---I'd have been screaming for Girardi's head if he hadn't done it, even if Ibanez had struck out on three pitches.
Leave aside the baseball side of it. As a management issue, if Ibanez strikes out and the Yankees lose the game and series, Girardi's got to be fired, right? If you're going to alienate/humiliate one of your marquee guys, you're risking your job in a way that you aren't if you just let the game play out. So I don't know if it was genius, but I do think it showed major cojones.
   41. BDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4263302)
but … but … I thought it was always a bad idea to disrespect Alex Rodriguez by batting him 8th, pinch-hitting for him, making fun of his centaur painting … :)
   42. bunyon Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4263303)
Does JJ ordinarily look good? I've seen him pitch maybe 5 games this year and he looks like a perfectly mediocre relief pitcher.
   43. DKDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4263316)
Does JJ ordinarily look good? I've seen him pitch maybe 5 games this year and he looks like a perfectly mediocre relief pitcher.


It’s pretty hard to look bad when you face 153 batters in high leverage situations and allow a batting line of .179/.243/.221.

He’s a sinkerballer, so when he’s not getting sink or he leaves the ball up, he’s going to get hit. That hasn’t happened often this year.
   44. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4263325)
Johnson isn't that good and got lucky this year. Sinkerballer with shitty periphs and a .250 BABIP. He's basically Chien-Mien Wang, but pitching as a reliver. Which is fine and all that, but doesn't do much as a closer when the "good" options are essentially unhittable.
   45. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4263328)
Thanks for 36/37 - that's some good context. The two most HR dependent offenses in baseball. Good to see the Orioles getting back to pitching, defense and the 3 run HR.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4263339)
Johnson isn't that good and got lucky this year. Sinkerballer with shitty periphs and a .250 BABIP.
Jim Johnson's FIP this season is 3.25. His component numbers are not elite, but "shitty" is simply wrong as a description.
   47. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4263358)
Jim Johnson's FIP this season is 3.25. His component numbers are not elite, but "shitty" is simply wrong as a description.


IMO, a league average pitcher (including all starters and relievers) put into a 1-inning only, no-runners on when entering the game role, would probably end up with a mid 3.00s' ERA pitching at Camden Yards. I see Johnson as marginally better than a league average pitcher occupying his role. Given that closers tend to be above league average pitchers or have specialized closer skills, I think that he's a shitty closer. He's not a shitty reliver in general, he's just meh.
   48. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4263376)
I was shocked Arrieta and S. Johnson were left off the roster, but that was nothing compared to Alex Rodriguez being PH for by Raul Ibanez. Raul Ibanez!
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4263382)
IMO, a league average pitcher (including all starters and relievers) put into a 1-inning only, no-runners on when entering the game role, would probably end up with a mid 3.00s' ERA pitching at Camden Yards.
Ok. I think that's crazy talk.

-Camden is a neutral park
-Most pitchers are bad, the league average is produced by massively overweighting good pitchers because they pitch more innings. If you're including "all starters and relievers", your average is much worse than league average.
-The 20th-30th best reliever in baseball can be defined as "shitty" if you like, but it's a terribly non-standard use of language.
   50. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4263406)
The Orioles have a pretty good offense. Not great, but above average.


Their Team OPS is 7th, OPS+ is 97, they are 10th in runs

You say the O is actually pretty good becasue it's due to a weak bench, and that doesn't count in the playoffs cause those guys won't be playing- so their everyday lineup is good

Median starter OPS+ (2012 AL)
C: 104 (Wieters is 7th at 107- this is not a usual year for Al catchers)
1B: 110 (Mark Reynolds at 107 is slightly below, 110 is LOW, median starting 1B is usually 118-120)
2B: 79 (Unusually low, but Andino is well south of that anyway)
SS: 82.5 (JJ just misses under)
3B: 104 (Betemit/Machado are under)
LF: 99 (really unusually low, Nate is over
CF: 110 (unusually high, Jones is well over)
RF: 114.5 (typical, Markakis is healthily over)
DH: 121 (typical, and Davis nailed it)

If you aggregate it, median starting OF is at 107, The Oriole's OF is over
median starting 1B/DH is 116, the Orioles are about there
The Orioles starters are collectively below average at C/2B/SS/3B, not by a huge amount

overall, the Orioles starting 9 is probably slightly above average- but below average FOR A PLAYOFF TEAM...
   51. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4263412)
Ok. I think that's crazy talk.

Look, lets just take the two teams in this series, k?

In a closer role (i.e., pitcher can air it out for ~35 pitches and has "prepped" for that approach), I'd rather have Sabathia, Kuroda, Soriano, Robertson, Hughes, Pettitte, Chen, Hammel, maybe this Gonzalez character, O'Day (maybe splitting the inning with Logan for the platoon advantage). There are maybe 13 pitchers who will get serious play in this series, and Johnson isn't in the top half of them in a one inning context (I actually think his stuff looks like it would play better as a starter).

Perhaps the one advantage of Johnson is that you need to string hits together off of him to get runs - the 2.6BB/9 for his career and 0.5 HR/9 is pretty tasty - but then you put him on the mound at Yankee Stadium with the stupid RF fence and the Yankees run out essentially nothing but LH and SH power bats . . . he's not King a ton of guys and it doesn't take much for one of the usual suspects to plink one over the fence.

He's a shitty closer.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4263416)
In a closer role (i.e., pitcher can air it out for ~35 pitches and has "prepped" for that approach), I'd rather have Sabathia, Kuroda, Soriano, Robertson, Hughes, Pettitte, Chen, Hammel, maybe this Gonzalez character, O'Day (maybe splitting the inning with Logan for the platoon advantage).
So, in other words, he's the third best reliever between two playoff rosters.

You can define every reliever but the 15 best in the world as shitty, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to understand the concept that way.
   53. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4263418)
Pinch-hitting Ibanez for A-Rod in that spot was one of those moves that was so screamingly obvious that I have a hard time seeing it as any act of genius. A tough right handed pitcher, a left handed slugger with a hot hand vs. a right handed hitter in a complete batting funk---I'd have been screaming for Girardi's head if he hadn't done it, even if Ibanez had struck out on three pitches.

Leave aside the baseball side of it. As a management issue, if Ibanez strikes out and the Yankees lose the game and series, Girardi's got to be fired, right?


Are you crazy? On what grounds? That the player with the biggest contract "has" to be the choice even when every other factor screams otherwise?

If you're going to alienate/humiliate one of your marquee guys, you're risking your job in a way that you aren't if you just let the game play out.

With all due respect, I don't think that a single Yankee fan would have questioned Girardi's move in hindsight, no matter what the outcome. In case you hadn't noticed it, that's not the A-Rod of 2009 who's been out there lately, and Ibanez has repeatedly demonstrated his capabilities in situations like last night's. He's now come through in similar situations five times in the last three weeks, every one of them still fresh in every Yankee fan's memory. Sometimes you have to forget about all the other factors and just go with the hot hand.

So I don't know if it was genius, but I do think it showed major cojones.

Only if Steinbrenner were channeling his inner DiPerna and discounting every recent event as a mere matter of randomness.

--------------------------------------------

I'd bet a mortgage payment today that both of them - A-Rod and Ibanez - are in the lineup.

And of course they both should be. A-Rod's still capable of snapping out of it, even if in last night's specific situation Ibanez was the only serious choice.
   54. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4263426)
You can define every reliever but the 15 best in the world as shitty, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to understand the concept that way.


Since closers are supposed to be the best relievers, wouldn't, by definition, the 25th best reliever in the world (who's probably also worse than ~75 starters, if they were put in that role) be a shitty closer?
   55. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4263428)
I know it's heresy around here, but A-Rod basically can't hit in the postseason; even the outlier of 2009 is overrated. There's no use waiting around for him to get going when he isn't going to get going.


If the Yankees are going to win the World Series this year, it'll be with a productive A-Rod in the middle of the order.

If he hits under .200, the Yankees will lose.
   56. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4263441)
I mostly agree with Jolly's #53. But I still don't think that Ibanez was the "only serious choice" in that situation. The risk-averse choice was to let Rod strike out. Very few people would have questioned him on that. And, like I said upstairs, the fact that Rod was DHing led to a lot more flexibility - if he were playing 3rd, it would have been a much more complicated choice. Which begs the question whether Girardi thought there was a possibility of this type of situation when he filled out the pregame lineup.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4263448)
Since closers are supposed to be the best relievers, wouldn't, by definition, the 25th best reliever in the world (who's probably also worse than ~75 starters, if they were put in that role) be a shitty closer?
No. He would be a below average closer. "Shitty" means bad, really bad. Not below average.

(This seems like a common theme in discussions of the Orioles. The fact that the Orioles are merely mildly above average, with a bunch of below average players in important roles, seems to lead people to describe them as terrible. They're pretty good, which is not the same thing as terrible, and some of their players are below average, which is not the same thing as shitty.)
   58. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4263454)
No. He would be a below average closer. "Shitty" means bad, really bad. Not below average.


Fine. I'll stipulate to this and concede my rhetorical exagerration. I'll add that Johnson is a particularly bad fit against the Yankees and their park, just like Kim in 2001, so the effect is worse than his intrinsic "true talent"
   59. AROM Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4263465)
With all due respect, I don't think that a single Yankee fan would have questioned Girardi's move in hindsight, no matter what the outcome. In case you hadn't noticed it, that's not the A-Rod of 2009 who's been out there lately, and Ibanez has repeatedly demonstrated his capabilities in situations like last night's. He's now come through in similar situations five times in the last three weeks, every one of them still fresh in every Yankee fan's memory. Sometimes you have to forget about all the other factors and just go with the hot hand.


I can't see any sabermetric grounds to criticize it. Ibanez has been about an .800 OPS hitter against righties the last 3 years. A-Rod was pretty bad vs. righties this season, though he was better against righties the previous 2 seasons. While we're supposed to ignore hot hand/slumps as not being predictive, it is probable that A-Rod, not having hit for much power since his return from injury, is not at 100% health.

I'm not sure which is more shocking, that Girardi would pinch hit for A-Rod, or that the analysis would back up, or at least not condemn such a move. Yeah, A-Rod is 36 and not the player he once was, but Raul is 4 years older. Who could have guessed 10 years ago that when A-Rod loses a bit Ibanez would still be in the league, let alone a viable alternative?

Now a really gutsy move by Girardi would have been to pinch hit with Raul for Jeter in the 8th against O'Day. Jeter also has a huge platoon split, and was not 100% as he was hobbling earlier in the game and left the game right after that for defensive purposes. But Jeter is the hot hand, so that move won't be made.

   60. esseff Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4263472)
I don't know a lot about the off-the-field side of Ibanez, but to me, as a neutral party, his postgame interviews presented him as easily likable.

   61. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4263478)
The way these guys are swinging, I'd rather have Jeter vs. O'Day than A-Rod vs. Johson. Jeter has recently hit line drives, and even had a couple of hits in this game (though he gets an assist from Adam Jones on that one).
   62. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4263484)
Through three games, Adam Jones is having a terrible, terrible series. As in the worst single performance on both sides of the ball that I can think of offhand in a short series.
   63. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4263493)
Jeter also has a huge platoon split, and was not 100% as he was hobbling earlier in the game and left the game right after that for defensive purposes.


Jeter left strictly because of the injury, right? The Yankees were losing when he got pulled, and you don't make a defensive substitution in a game you're losing.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4263495)
I mostly agree with Jolly's #53. But I still don't think that Ibanez was the "only serious choice" in that situation. The risk-averse choice was to let Rod strike out. Very few people would have questioned him on that.

I know I sure as hell would have. Letting A-Rod bat in that situation last night would have been the equivalent of watching your best friend drown in a pool while you sat there saying "just let me finish this cigarette."

And, like I said upstairs, the fact that Rod was DHing led to a lot more flexibility - if he were playing 3rd, it would have been a much more complicated choice.

Now that part I'll agree with, although given the game situation he'd still have had to do what he did.

Which begs the question whether Girardi thought there was a possibility of this type of situation when he filled out the pregame lineup.

Now that would have qualified as a stroke of genius that would've rated a nod from Casey Stengel or Tony LaRussa. I'd like to think that Girardi had that scenario in mind when he made out the lineup, but I tend to doubt that he did.
   65. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4263501)
Jeter left strictly because of the injury, right? The Yankees were losing when he got pulled, and you don't make a defensive substitution in a game you're losing.


I was actually listening to the radio at that point, and John Sterling made the point that "Jeter's spot will definitely not come up again tonight!" Sure enough, it did.
   66. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4263502)
I was thinking in the shower this morning that there's a curious hitter parallel to the power pitcher "losing" his stuff.

Nearly all power pitchers lose their velocity after awhile. When this happens, they almost always lose effectiveness for a while. Some population of pitchers then reinvent themselves with new pitches. Some never do, and once the fastball is gone they quickly fade away.

You can see the same effect with hitters. The bat speed starts to go, and all of a sudden, the fastballs inside are too fast to hit. Some guys seem to find a way to rejigger their mechanics to squeeze a little more speed out of their swing - I'm thinking Ortiz, Jeter, and can cheat time for a few more seasons. Some guys can't.

But the common thread for all of these is that it's very hard - if not impossible - to make the changes necessary to compensate for a loss of velocity or a loss of bat speed on the fly. Took Jeter the better part of a year; Ortiz too. Plenty of pitchers scuffle about for a season or so until it clicks and they have a renassaince. I think its very possible A-Rod comes back next year hitting again, but I don't think he can fix what ails him - the inability to hit a well-placed fastball - until the off season.
   67. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4263519)
Now that would have qualified as a stroke of genius that would've rated a nod from Casey Stengel or Tony LaRussa. I'd like to think that Girardi had that scenario in mind when he made out the lineup, but I tend to doubt that he did.


We'll never know this for sure, because Girardi certainly wouldn't share this if this were true. And even if he did, a lot of people would think that he's retroactively trying to look smart.

That having been said, is it more likely that Joe said "Good thing I DHed a struggling hitter, leaving me with lots of pinch-hitting options" or "Let me randomly put Chavez in the field today. Oh, look!"
   68. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4263522)
What a performance by this bald 40 year old guy. I wanted to go to bed but I had to stay up and watch, even though the wrong side won. Good job, Raul; let's go, Birds, take it to game 5.
   69. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4263526)
Through three games, Adam Jones is having a terrible, terrible series. As in the worst single performance on both sides of the ball that I can think of offhand in a short series


I blame the bubble gum.

Also, Adam got a little better last couple years not chasing every outside slider thrown to him; but he is back in chase mode again.

Grudging credit to Girardi for having the stones to ph for A-Rod.
   70. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4263534)
Was Ibanez ever young-looking? My recollection is that he kind of looked like a cancer patient right when he came up.
   71. esseff Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4263545)
Most impressive thing about Ibanez is that after the game he was still able to get down to the St. James Theatre to pick up his role in "The King and I" revival for Act II.
   72. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4263546)
Rodriguez after the game: "To be honest, I don't know how I would have reacted to that ten years ago."

There were platitudes before and after it. That's much more of an honest quote than I'd have expected from the man.
   73. eddieot Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4263568)
I don't know a lot about the off-the-field side of Ibanez, but to me, as a neutral party, his postgame interviews presented him as easily likable.

Among players, Raul is one of the most universally liked guys in the league. A union exec described him to me as "one of the nicest people you will ever meet."
   74. radioman Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4263640)
Girardi did both the right and difficult thing in that situation. This will be one of the first of many reality checks for AROD as he gets older and how he reacts to it in this series and next season will foreshadow what the twilight of his career will look like.

now that would have qualified as a stroke of genius that would've rated a nod from Casey Stengel or Tony LaRussa. I'd like to think that Girardi had that scenario in mind when he made out the lineup, but I tend to doubt that he did.


In the post game press conference, Girardi said this first came to his mind in the 7th inning when it was shaping up that AROD could come up against Johnson in a one run game in the 9th.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4263644)
Rodriguez after the game: "To be honest, I don't know how I would have reacted to that ten years ago."

There were platitudes before and after it. That's much more of an honest quote than I'd have expected from the man.

Yeah, but then 10 years ago there wouldn't have been the need for Ibanez.
   76. Martin Hemner Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4263653)
Among players, Raul is one of the most universally liked guys in the league. A union exec described him to me as "one of the nicest people you will ever meet."

If you remember, the Phils offered arbitration to Ibanez this winter after a handshake deal that he would decline (getting the team a sandwich pick). He had no incentive to do this except out of appreciation for his former club. Not that I think he deserves a ton of credit for declining (turning down at least $8 million or so) after agreeing to do so, but it was a classy move to help out a team that was cutting him loose.
   77. Gamingboy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4263664)
1. Oakland A's
2. Baby walrus
3. Ibanez


Indeed, the Baby Walrus probably saved many people from losing it last night.
   78. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4263721)
Ibanez also hit a clutch homer in that extra inning game against the A's so whatever happens going forward, I would walk Ibanez.
   79. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4263727)
Re AROd:

I thought the decision to PH Ibanez, while totally out of character for Girardi, while fueling the talk radio flames, while putting the coda on the act of turning ARod into a circus act, was nevertheless the right one for the team. At least at that moment. Each game in a series is crucial, particularly in a five-game series, particularly in a swing game... And so I can't fault Girardi.

I'm not a fan of Girardi's, and I _am_ a fan of ARod's, and I agree that Girardi acted uncharacteristically and would never do something like this to Jeter - has never done it to Jeter, including over the last couple of years prior to 2012 where Jeter couldn't hit righties but was sucking up 9th inning outs against them in playoff games anyway - but I can't fault Girardi for suddenly morphing into a stathead and trying to win a game. I wish he and all managers would do more of it. The problem is not that he did this; the problem is that he doesn't do it more often.

Yes, Ibanez brings no other skills to the table, yes, the 3B would now be out of the game, but this is the bottom of the 9th, and if you don't score all of that is meaningless anyway.

----

As to Andy, he seems to be basing his analysis heavily on "omigawwd ARod can't hit in the playoffs - except for when he did," and I reject that analysis. But there is a rational case to be made that age/injuries have left ARod as no longer the hitter that he once was, especially against righties, to the point where this move is utterly defensible.

Of course, Girardi should have PH for Martin earlier, using this logic.
   80. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4263744)
Did Hank Aaron get pinch-hit for at the end? Ruth?
   81. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4263756)
I'm not a fan of Girardi's, and I _am_ a fan of ARod's, and I agree that Girardi acted uncharacteristically and would never do something like this to Jeter - has never done it to Jeter, including over the last couple of years prior to 2012 where Jeter couldn't hit righties but was sucking up 9th inning outs against them in playoff games anyway - but I can't fault Girardi for suddenly morphing into a stathead and trying to win a game. I wish he and all managers would do more of it. The problem is not that he did this; the problem is that he doesn't do it more often.


The "analysis" of this on sports radio and on the various TV networks is deeply stupid, but there's importance to it: There is downside to Girardi's move. Soft, unquantifiable downside.

Girardi knew this right away. Taking A-Rod out right there was the right strategic move; in foresight and hindsight both. But these are confident, prideful, and somewhat emotionally vulnerable men. This is the first time in twenty years or so that Rod was not the best offensive option in a bit spot, and Girardi made the choice to let the world know that he thought so as well. This is as big a move as Davey Johnson taking Cal Ripken off short years ago.

Will this have some unmeasurable effects on Rod's brain? Even positive ones? I have no idea, and I absolutely don't trust the armchair psychologists who pretend to know.
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4263757)
This was not batting ARod 9th, as Torre did, scapegoating him, in a season where ARod was a dangerous hitter. This was Girardi trying to make a move to win a game.

The fact that he would never PH for Jeter is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant to the ARod move.
   83. BDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4263759)
More poignant than pinch-hitting, Willie Mays was frequently caddied for in CF late in games in '73, and there's this particularly sad note from a game on 1 July 1973: Tom Seaver pinch runs for Willie Mays
   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4263766)
This was not batting ARod 9th, as Torre did, scapegoating him, in a season where ARod was a dangerous hitter. This was Girardi trying to make a move to win a game.

It was mostly Girardi succumbing to the inevitable conclusion that A-Rod sucks lemons in the postseason.(*) Many of us came to this conclusion years ago. Girardi never would have dreamed of doing this in the regular season.

(*) A-Rod's "dangerousness" by the CoPa games in 2006 was entirely illusory.
   85. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4263773)
More poignant than pinch-hitting, Willie Mays was frequently caddied for in CF late in games in '73, and there's this particularly sad note from a game on 1 July 1973: Tom Seaver pinch runs for Willie Mays
That is crazy!
Leave aside the baseball side of it. As a management issue, if Ibanez strikes out and the Yankees lose the game and series, Girardi's got to be fired, right?

Are you crazy? On what grounds? That the player with the biggest contract "has" to be the choice even when every other factor screams otherwise?

I could well be crazy but I'm not evaluating whether it was the right move but whether it was the safe move. And many managers do of course, and naturally, prioritize safety since it's their paychecks on the line.

So Ibanez strikes out. A-Rod rips Girardi in the media. Sports radio goes nuts (the fact that the same people had been ragging on A-Rod wouldn't limit them since they're literally never consistent.) Fans--classic frontrunners--boo like crazy.

Steinbrenners hope to keep attendance up next year without spending money to get under the threshold. Fire Girardi to make a point that you don't accept mediocrity. Hire someone with hometown recognition for a short-term contract. Go through a cheap down year next year with the new manager taking the blame, and then reload for 2014. Obviously no one knows, but I would be surprised if the risk didn't weigh heavily on Girardi's mind at the time.
   86. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4263778)
It was mostly Girardi succumbing to the inevitable conclusion that A-Rod sucks lemons in the postseason.(*)


I agree with that, actually, as a statement as to what drove Girardi to make a decision that was defensible on stathead grounds.

I of course disagree that "the postseason" makes ARod a worse hitter.

   87. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4263863)
As to Andy, he seems to be basing his analysis heavily on "omigawwd ARod can't hit in the playoffs - except for when he did," and I reject that analysis.

My "analysis" pertained to the situation that existed in the ninth inning of last night's game. I wasn't calling for A-Rod to be benched or demoted in the lineup prior to the game, nor would I say that today.

But there is a rational case to be made that age/injuries have left ARod as no longer the hitter that he once was, especially against righties, to the point where this move is utterly defensible.

I'm not sure why you think I disagree with any of that.

------------------------------------------------------

Leave aside the baseball side of it. As a management issue, if Ibanez strikes out and the Yankees lose the game and series, Girardi's got to be fired, right?

Are you crazy? On what grounds? That the player with the biggest contract "has" to be the choice even when every other factor screams otherwise?

I could well be crazy but I'm not evaluating whether it was the right move but whether it was the safe move. And many managers do of course, and naturally, prioritize safety since it's their paychecks on the line.


I agree with that as a general proposition, but not always.

So Ibanez strikes out.

Entirely possible.

A-Rod rips Girardi in the media.

Not remotely possible.

Sports radio goes nuts (the fact that the same people had been ragging on A-Rod wouldn't limit them since they're literally never consistent.) Fans--classic frontrunners--boo like crazy.

Barely possible, maybe 1%. The Yankee fan base can be criticized for a "what have you done for me lately?" attitude, but that wouldn't have kicked in here, not with the memory of Ibanez's recent heroics so fresh in their minds. As I noted, and as every Yankee fans knows, as he was coming up to bat in the ninth inning last night, Ibanez had just produced three of the more dramatic clutch hits in recent Yankee history only in the past two weeks alone. Meanwhile A-Rod's recent history, particularly against righthanders, was a disaster.

Steinbrenners hope to keep attendance up next year without spending money to get under the threshold. Fire Girardi to make a point that you don't accept mediocrity. Hire someone with hometown recognition for a short-term contract. Go through a cheap down year next year with the new manager taking the blame, and then reload for 2014. Obviously no one knows, but I would be surprised if the risk didn't weigh heavily on Girardi's mind at the time.

The Steinbrenners have changed managers exactly once since 1996. This isn't The Boss of the pre-Torre era we're dealing with today, even if non-Yankee fans seem to forget this.

   88. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4263882)
A-Rod rips Girardi in the media.

Not remotely possible.


Agree, in a literal way. I could absolutely see him say something like "It was the manager's decision", which would feed many of the same flames.

It isn't "This is not the way we do things around here", but it's in that neighborhood.
   89. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4263929)
Did Hank Aaron get pinch-hit for at the end? Ruth?


I was wondering about that this morning. Has a player of A-Rod's stature ever been pinch hit for in such a situation? I mean, we can quibble about how good he was this year but it's not like a .793 OPS/112 OPS+ is poor. This isn't Mays in '73 or Ruth in '35.
   90. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4263971)

Barely possible, maybe 1%


Frankly, I think even that's over-stating the possibility. Far more likely that the mooks that call into NY sports radio would be ripping Girardi for not doing it sooner.
   91. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4264101)
You all have a greater belief in the consistency of sports-talk radio than I do. I would still bet on the joy of second-guessing. It was good enough for Sal Maglie...
   92. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4264203)
[91] Yes, but my way combines both the joy of second guessing AND the natural antipathy that the kind of Yankees fans who call into sports radio feel towards Rodriguez.

=)
   93. GregD Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4264225)
I admit that is a powerful combo!

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