New York Yankees' manager Joe Girardi looks brilliant today after his decision Wednesday night to pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez, a move that led to Raul Ibanez getting a chance and ending up hitting game-tying and game-winning home runs.
Here is Jack Curry of YES Network on the move, and its ramifications:
It was bold, gutsy and daring. When Joe Girardi decided to use Raul Ibanez as a pinch-hitter for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, it was one of the more delicate decisions he has made as a manager. It was also one of the smartest decisions he has made.
Even before Ibanez drilled a game-tnew-york-yankees-alex-rodying homer off Jim Johnson and a game-winning homer off Brian Matusz in the 12th inning, inserting Ibanez for Rodriguez was the proper move. Even if Ibanez had made an out and the Yankees had lost to the Orioles, I believe Girardi did the right thing. The manager's job is to give his team the best chance to win. That's what Girardi did.
Because Ibanez had a dream of a postseason game, the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 3-2, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees need to win one of the next two home games to advance to the A.L. Championship Series. If not for Ibanez, the Yankees would be facing elimination in Game 4 on Thursday night. If not for Girardi's decision, Ibanez never would have batted in the ninth.
"I just had a gut feeling," Girardi said.
Where A-Rod hits in the Thursday night lineup, or if he even starts in Game 4, will be a part of the conversation. The Yankees will need A-Rod if they are going to win their 28th title. For now, though, I have to agree with Curry. What the Yankees needed Wednesday was for Rodriguez to get out of the way -- and Girardi deserves credit for having the courage to make the move.