Could A-Rod hit vs. Dotel?

October, 18, 2012
DETROIT -- Joe Girardi said he balked at sending Alex Rodriguez up to hit for Raul Ibañez in the ninth inning of Game 2 with a left-hander, Phil Coke, pitching for the Tigers.

"They would have just brought in a right-hander, anyway," Girardi said.

With that in mind, I asked Girardi today under what circumstances he could see A-Rod getting another at-bat in this series, since Detroit is starting all right-handers and, presumably, Jim Leyland would counter any A-Rod pinch-hitting appearance with a right-handed reliever.

"There are situations that come up in the game that maybe you like the matchup a little bit more if they do go to the right-hander," Girardi said. "Believe me, I don't necessarily want to sit Alex. This is not something that I anticipated or is really easy to do because there's a history there, but I have to do what I feel is best and if there's a spot that I feel it's really beneficial, I'm going to put him in there."

In very small samples, Rodriguez has hit both Tigers lefty relievers well -- .750 (3-for-4) off Coke and 1-for-3 off Drew Smyly -- which might support Girardi's theory that Leyland will always replace lefty with a righty if A-Rod comes up.

A quick scan of A-Rod's numbers versus the Tigers righty relievers reveals he is 0-for-2 against Al Alburquerque; 3-for-19 (.158) with a HR off Joaquin Benoit; 2-for-6 against Jose Valverde, who may have lost his job; and 3-for-10 with 2 HRs off Octavio Dotel. So if there is a matchup that Girardi might think is right for an A-Rod sighting, it might be that one.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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