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Monday, October 15, 2012
Inside Girardi's Game 3 decisions

By Mark Simon

Joe Girardi has some interesting decisions to make regarding his lineup for Tuesday night when his team faces Justin Verlander.

Let's take a stat-based look at five of them. What would you do in these cases? Share your thoughts in the comments sectrion.

Decision No. 1: Alex Rodriguez or Eric Chavez at 3B?
Would Joe Girardi bench Rodriguez in order to load up the lineup with lefties against Verlander?

Two reasons why A-Rod probably gets the nod:

1. He had good swings in his last two at-bats. Inside Edge, which tracks “hard-hit balls” credited Rodriguez with two hard-hit balls in Game 2, the first game in which he had two hard-hit balls since September 22 against the Athletics.

2. Though Chavez has an edge in terms of history against Justin Verlander (he’s 9-for-25 compared to A-Rod’s 8-for-30), Rodriguez has good recent history against the Tigers ace. He’s 4-for-6 with two home runs against Verlander this season.

Decision No. 2: Eric Chavez or Raul Ibanez at DH?
You would think it wouldn’t even be a consideration as to whether Raul Ibanez was in the Yankees lineup or not. But let’s compare his history against Verlander to Chavez’s.

Ibanez vs Verlander: 3-for-29, five strikeouts, one extra-base hit; hitless in last 18 at-bats vs Verlander His .103 batting average against Verlander is his worst against any pitcher (minimum 20 AB)

Chavez vs Verlander: 9-for-25, five strikeouts, three extra-base hits; 6-for-10 vs Verlander this season

Decision No. 3: Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez at SS?
Nix would seem to be the likely choice, but two things to keep in mind with picking him.

1. He’s 1-for-18 against right-handed pitching since September 5.
2. He’s 1-for-11 with five strikeouts against Justin Verlander.

Nunez is 1-for-3 career against Verlander with a double.

Decision No. 4: Granderson/Swisher or Gardner?
Curtis Granderson is 3-for-26 with 14 strikeouts this postseason and 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in this series against the Tigers. He’s 4-for-20 with eight strikeouts against Verlander, 2-for-10 with five strikeouts this season.

Swisher is 4-for-26 with eight strikeouts in this postseason, though he’s 2-for-8 in this series. He’s 11-for-61 (.180) with 23 strikeouts (and three homers) vs Verlander, but 3-for-9 with two doubles against him this season.

Gardner has totaled three at-bats since April 18 with one hit. But he’s 5-for-11 in his career against Verlander.

Decision No. 5: Where to hit Teixeira and Cano?
Mark Teixeira has hit well this postseason- a .320 batting average with seven walks in 25 at-bats, though with no home runs. His history against Verlander may be a concern. He’s 3-for-35 career against Verlander, including 0-for-his-last 15. His .086 batting average versus Verlander is his worst against any pitcher (minimum 20 at-bats)

Cano enters this game hitless in his last 26 at-bats, a record hitless streak for a single postseason. He’s 7-for-38 (.184) career against Verlander with no home runs, which includes 0-for-7 in previous postseason appearances.

The 38 at-bats are his third-most without a homer against a pitcher (he has none in 57 at-bats vs Jon Lester, 54 at-bats vs John Lackey).

But he’s 3-for-10 with a triple against Verlander this season. Inside Edge has credited him with six "hard-hit balls" of the nine he's hit against Verlander this season.