Nick Swisher Bails Out Joe Girardi as Yankees Snap Three-Game Slide

September 8, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

One swing of the bat erased 52 nervous hours for the Yankees.

Nick Swisher‘s two-run, walk-off homer to beat the Orioles, 3-2, on Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx cleansed the palette after a frustrating day by Joe Girardi and the Bombers’ offense, and prevented New York from taking a four-game losing streak into an off-day before a tough three-game series in Texas.

A loss would’ve given Baltimore its first three-game sweep in New York since 1986, been the first time the Yanks were swept at the new stadium and handed the Bombers their first four-game skid of the season. As it stands now, they remain the only team in baseball this year not to lose four straight.

A loss would’ve also put the Yankees in a tie in the loss column with the Rays atop the American League East, but Swisher took care of all that with an opposite-field shot off Koji Uehara.

Let’s take a look at the grades from this game:


Joe Girardi, Manager: (D) Girardi has made a slew of bewildering decisions of late. In the second game of this series on Tuesday, he pinch-hit Alex Rodriguez in the seventh inning. After A-Rod reached on a fielder’s choice, Girardi left him in the game to run, but he didn’t allow him to play the field in the eighth; meaning if his spot in the order came up again in the ninth with the Yanks down by four, he would be unavailable to hit.

According to Michael Kay, Girardi didn’t pinch-run for Rodriguez, because he wanted him to be available to to hit again in case the Yankees batted around in the seventh. Since A-Rod would’ve been the 13th man to come to the plate in that situation, New York would’ve already scored eight runs in the inning and been ahead, 10-6. Apparently, that’s a more important situation for Rodriguez to hit in than with the game on the line in the ninth.

On Wednesday, the questionable calls again arose in the seventh. With one on and one out and the Bombers down, 2-1, Buck Showalter brought in lefty Mark Hendrickson to pitch to Lance Berkman. This seemed to be an obvious situation to pinch-hit Marcus Thames, who is a .327 hitter against southpaws this year, for Berkman, who hits lefties at a .184 clip. However, Girardi stuck with the former Astro, who struck out swinging.

Thankfully, the skipper did bring in Thames with Granderson’s spot due up next as he is just a .246 hitter versus lefties, and the pinch-hitter proceeded to smack a single to right, advancing Robinson Cano to third. Of course, there were now two outs instead of one, so the next batter would need a hit instead of a sac fly or a groundout to tie the game. Before that could happen, Girardi sent out a pinch-runner for Thames, only to call him back to the bench. Even Girardi doesn’t have any confidence in what Girardi is doing.

Due up next was Francisco Cervelli, who Girardi let bat instead of bringing in Jorge Posada. That move seemed very strange at the time, but it was later revealed that Posada was dealing with concussion-like symptoms after being struck in the head on a foul-tip on Tuesday. I guess the Yankees didn’t reveal that until after the game, because they didn’t want the O’s to know he wasn’t available?

Finally, in the ninth, Girardi did his patented pinch-run for A-Rod after he reached with a single. It’s a good thing he did, because I don’t know if Rodriguez would’ve been able to trot around the bases on Swisher’s homer as quickly as Eduardo Nunez did.

I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I’d be willing to bet my Carlos Zambrano bobblehead that A-Rod has been pinch-run for more times in the past two years than he was in his previous 14 seasons in the bigs combined. Nunez didn’t appear to be stealing once during the six pitches to Cano and Swisher.


Brett Gardner, LF-CF: (B+) Gardner had an RBI double in the third, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. I don’t have a problem with that because he made the second out, not the first or third. Gardner is batting .329 in the leadoff spot, as opposed to .241 in the nine-hole.



Derek Jeter, SS: (F) The captain’s nightmare season continued on Wednesday as he went 0-for-4 and committed his sixth error. He’s now hitting just .262, his lowest average since he was at .207 on April 13, 2009, which was just seven games into that year. I’d still rather have him up in a big spot in the playoffs than anyone else on the team.



Mark Teixeira, DH: (F) Teixeira also had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s 5-for-34 (.147) as a DH in 2010. Let’s try and maybe keep him in the field.


Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (A) A-Rod got the ninth-inning rally going with his second single of the day. He’s played just one complete game since Aug. 15.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (C) Cano singled and struck out in four at-bats.


Nick Swisher, RF: (A+) I know I wasn’t the only one snickering when Kim Jones got some of Swisher’s pie in her eyes.


Lance Berkman, 1B: (C-) Berkman walked, but went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and couldn’t pick Jeter’s errant throw out of the dirt.



Curtis Granderson, CF: (B) Granderson walked, stole, and scored in the third. He’d have a lot more than 11 steals if his on-base percentage was higher than .318.


Francisco Cervelli, C: (C) Cervelli was 0-for-2, but he did his job by advancing Granderson to third with less than two outs using a grounder to the right side in the third.


Eduardo Nunez, PR: (INC) Pinch-trotter.


Marcus Thames, PH-LF: (B) .306/.379/.532. This guy needs to be in the lineup every day.


Ivan Nova, SP: (B+) Lost in Swisher’s walk-off was the rookie’s fourth straight solid outing. This may have been his best yet as he allowed just two runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings. His ERA is 2.92 and I’d rank him as the Yankees’ fifth-best starter, ahead of Javier Vazquez.


David Robertson, RP: (A) Robertson retired all four batters he faced.



Boone Logan, RP: (A)  The lefty struck out both batters he faced.


Joba Chamberlain, RP: (A)


Yankees Overall Grade: (B+) The Bombers have scored just 11 runs over their past four games, so they better pick things up if they want to outslug the Rangers this weekend. With Vazquez, A.J. Burnett and Dustin Moseley scheduled to start, chances are Texas will be putting up a lot of runs.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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