10 Oct 2012
Raul Ibanez is obviously the hero of this game, but you have to give tremendous credit to Joe Girardi. Girardi decided to roll the dice with Ibanez hitting for A-Rod in the 9th and it was the right call. He followed that up by leaving Ibanez in to face a lefty in the 12th when Ibanez was 12-for-65 with 0 homers against lefties in 2012, and it was the right call again. Either move, especially the first one, could have opened him up to criticism, but Girardi pulled the trigger. He looks like a genius now, but can you imagine what the story would have been if Ibanez had struck out in the 9th and the Yankees had lost?
Now the Yankees have this series in their control. One more win at home and they head to the ALCS. It would behoove them to win it tomorrow, as thanks to this year’s postseason schedule there won’t be an off-day between the ALDS and the ALCS if the ALDS goes five games. Behoove is probably too small a word as the Yankees would be at a serious disadvantage if they went 5 games in the ALDS. They would have to pitch CC in Game 5, meaning he wouldn’t be available until Game 4 of the ALCS on regular rest. Furthermore, they wouldn’t have any of their ALDS starters available on regular rest for Game 2 of the ALCS. They could either start Kuroda on three-days rest or pitch Nova or Phelps I suppose.
So, the Yankees need to figure out a way to win tomorrow. They face Joe Saunders, a guy they have roughed up historically. Phil Hughes was 11-4 with a 3.74 ERA at home this year, so you have to feel good about the pitching matchup.
And while it isn’t a topic for now, A-Rod’s five-year/$114-million deal will certainly be a topic in the near future.