x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Joe Girardi's heart makes the right call in a pinch

Managers will point to the New York Yankees¿ manager Joe Girardi¿s decision to pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez to give them incentive to make gutsy moves of their own, says Carroll Rogers.

Pinch hit for a guy in the 600-home run club? That's what Yankees manager Joe Girardi did, sitting the struggling Alex Rodriguez for Raul Ibanez, centre, who rewarded Joe Girardi's gut feeling with not one but two home runs, the first to tie the game and the second, in the 12th inning, winning it. Ibanez became the first to enter a play-off game and homer twice in Major League Baseball history.
Pinch hit for a guy in the 600-home run club? That's what Yankees manager Joe Girardi did, sitting the struggling Alex Rodriguez for Raul Ibanez, centre, who rewarded Joe Girardi's gut feeling with not one but two home runs, the first to tie the game and the second, in the 12th inning, winning it. Ibanez became the first to enter a play-off game and homer twice in Major League Baseball history.

 

Managers will point to the New York Yankees' manager Joe Girardi's decision to pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the division series for years to come, and it will give them the incentive to make gutsy moves of their own.

With the game on the line against the Baltimore Orioles, Girardi sat his superstar, his US$300 million (Dh1.1bn) man, a future Hall of Famer and one of the all-time greats who has hit 647 home runs. Rodriguez had not been pinch hit for since junior high school.

But Rodriguez was 1-for-12 in the first three games of the series to that point, with seven strikeouts, and Girardi elected to send the veteran left-hander Raul Ibanez to pinch hit against the O's closer, Jim Johnson. His best move might have been being man enough to explain to Rodriguez then and there in the dugout why.

Not only did Ibanez hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, he hit the game-winner in walk-off fashion three innings later, and the teammate cheering the hardest in the Yankees' dugout was Rodriguez.

"I just felt like this is what my heart's telling me to do," Girardi told ESPN.com.

Sometimes moves like these read panic, and they ultimately do more harm than good. The minds of major league hitters are not to be trifled with, especially those who are constantly analysed by the media.

But in this case, it was not over-managing. It was the right call, even if Ibanez had not homered.

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