They rolled in. At a pace that mortals should not be able...
Yankees Should Have Played “Stars”
The Yankees should have played their guys. Theirstars. Manager Joe Girardi should not have tinkered with his lineup in the playoffs. When there is a guy who has been your starting third-baseman all year, you should not sit him when games become more magnified and when he’s slumping. With 647 career home runs, this guy has seen slumps. He’s been around enough to handle it. He surely has to be a better option than Eric Chavez or Jayson Nix, right?
Curtis Granderson hit 43 home runs this season and might be the best Yankee performer over the past two years (he hit 41 homers last year). Can Girardi really make an argument that Brett Gardner is a more viable option with everything on the line. I guess my point, to put it in cliche terms, is that you have to ride the horses who got you into the race.
Benching Granderson and A-Rod was a panic move. Desperate, panicked teams lose in the playoffs. Desperation happens to teams for a reason. They operate under the accepted premise that they have to play beyond their ability to win.
Teams that win in baseball’s playoffs, though, are usually not desperate. They are calculated and trusting. Last year’s St. Louis Cardinals, led by the most calculated and trusting manager in baseball, was never going to panic. Players’ roles were the same in the post-season as they had been in the regular season. During crunch-time, players were comfortable. It showed.
In a sport that puts so much stock in consistency and the long-term, benching two of the Yankees best players when they needed them most was not the right move. There had to be a better option that included Granderson and Rodriguez in the lineup.
One more note about this — not playing these guys hurt the team in the long term too. Granderson and Rodriguez might have come through despite the odds. Or, they might not have. A-Rod going 0-20 in a series could have spurred necessary change, no matter how painful. Granderson striking out 15 times in the ALCS might have cemented a move that needed to be made. Any judgment of those players’ crunch-time ability from the past year are turned into “would-have’s” and “could-have’s” rather than “dids” and “didn’ts” Instead of having that data now and making those changes immediately, the Yankees could potentially be doomed to another season of trying to “make it work.”
And maybe they will. This year, though, the consistent teams who trust their stars look like they’ll be in the World Series. And that isn’t by accident.