There were times this year when Justin Verlander took the mound while his team was reeling a bit — and the right-hander’s presence was Detroit’s best shot at snapping out of a momentary funk.
“This is a very easy place to play now,” said Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry, according to a report. “Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here.”
Uh-oh. There’s trouble in paradise. Hurt by jabs, jeers and insults from the home crowd, off-and-on fan favorite Swisher acknowledged Sunday he wasn’t much in the mood for roll call at Yankee Stadium.
“The technology is available,” said Girardi. “That’s what our country has done. We have evolved technology to make things better. Yeah, let’s have instant replay. And not just, not just home run, fair, foul. Let’s have instant replay.”
The manager doesn’t believe in panicking. The locker room doesn’t believe in panicking. But if ever there was a time for it, with Derek Jeter done and the Yankees’ hitters as lost as lost can be, this is it.
Raul Ibanez’s role will increase against the Tigers’ parade of right-handed starters and will be a key figure in the Yankees’ hopes of reaching the World Series.
Alex Rodriguez started the Yankees’ biggest game of the year on the bench. After being pinch-hit for in Games 3 and 4 against the Baltimore Orioles, the $275 million third baseman was removed from the starting lineup for Game 5 on Friday.
It all comes down to this: a do-or-die Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. New York has to like its chances with Sabathia on the mound.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Formerly fearsome hitters Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez could both be sacrificed in a drastically different Yankees lineup Friday.
I heard Yankees fans whine about Russell Martin, Joe Girardi, Ichiro Suzuki and, well, everyone but the sainted captain at shortstop. I had to roll my window down a foot in case of car (and fan) sickness.
Joe Girardi must finish the job. He took the first step when he put Alex Rodriguez (.083 in the series) on the bench in the ninth inning on Wednesday night and had Raul Ibanez pinch-hit for him. He must now leave him there.
He has to give a lineup change serious consideration. It’s not about ego at this point. It’s about surviving and advancing. Chavez could launch a homer or two over the right-field porch, and there’s little doubt that Ibanez would hit the ball hard.
There’s nowhere for A-Rod to hide — Joe Girardi isn’t ready to drop him in the batting order. As the Yankees’ No. 3 hitter, he’s going to have to start carrying his share of the load.
Playoff under-performers Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira have gotten off to a hot start in the ALDS.
“I said it was his game,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It was his game to either win or lose, and that’s exactly what he did. He went out and won the game for us.”