Could there be some lineup changes for the New York Yankees Saturday night when they face Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium? Manager Joe Girardi hinted there might be as he tries to find a way to wake his slumbering offense.
In their last 14 games the Yankees have scored more than five runs just once, and have scored three runs or less six times. A number of Yankees are performing below expectations. Among them are Alex Rodriguez (.261 average, just six home runs), Nick Swisher (.221, two home runs), Jorge Posada (.165), Mark Teixeira (.252) and Derek Jeter (.268).
So, what can Girardi do? Here is my $.02, the lineup I would trot out against Beckett this evening.
- Brett Gardner (LF)
- Derek Jeter (SS)
- Robinson Cano (2B)
- Alex Rodriguez (3B)
- Curtis Granderson (CF)
- Mark Teixeira (1B)
- Nick Swisher (RF)
- Russell Martin (C)
- Jorge Posada (DH)
Gardner is hitting .400 this month with an on-base percentage of .500. Get his speed to the top of the lineup and see if he can jump start the offense. Cano is the Yankees' best hitter. He should have been in the three-hole since Day 1 this season. It's time other guys in the lineup started protecting him, rather than the other way around. Granderson leads the majors in home runs with 12, so this gets him into a middle of the lineup RBI spot. Once Teixeira starts to hit again, perhaps he and Granderson could flip-flop. I really hate to disrespect Posada by sticking him in the nine-hole, but he is hitting .165 and he has no home runs and three RBI this month. If he is in the lineup, where else should he hit?
Posada's presence in the lineup is probably the key issue, and the most tenuous right now. How long can the Yankees keep playing him virtually every day? At some point, Andruw Jones has to get some DH at-bats against left-handers, leaving Gardner in the lineup every day. Gardner, a lefty hitter, at least offers the Yankees speed and defense if he doesn't hit against the left-handers. Against right-handers the Yankees don't have a good option currently with Eric Chavez on the disabled list. If Posada still isn't hitting when Chavez is healthy, he needs to get some of Jorge's lefty at-bats.
There are already calls for the Yankees to promote Jesus Montero, the highly-regarded young prospect, from AAA. He is hitting .325 with two home runs, 11 RBI and a .771 OPS currently. It is probably too early for that. It isn't, however, too early for some changes. The Yankees have lost seven of 10, now sit two games out in the American League East and are nearly a quarter of the way through their season.
They can't wait forever.