Different look vs. lefty starter
Game 2 for the Yankees revealed manager Joe Girardi’s lineup against left-handed starting pitchers such as the Rays’ David Price, who was paired against Hiroki Kuroda in the Japanese righthander’s debut for the Bombers.
In a move similar to early last year when Girardi was searching for an effective 2-hole hitter, the skipper flip-flopped Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Granderson, who was 0-for-5 in Friday’s opener, was dropped to sixth. Girardi reasoned that the switch-hitting Swisher’s .442 on-base average against left-handed pitching a year ago was a prime factor in using him higher in the order. That, and Swish’s career numbers against Price (.455 with a home run in 22 at-bats).
Granderson had a history of struggling against lefties until 2011 when he batted .272 with 16 home runs, the most off southpaw pitching by any left-handed hitter in the majors.
At least he is in the lineup, which was not the case for Brett Gardner. Another left-handed hitter, Gardner was on the bench as Girardi chose to start Andruw Jones in left field. Jones often is the designated hitter against lefties, but Girardi decided to use Derek Jeter in that spot against Price and give Eduardo Nunez a start at shortstop and bat ninth, Gardner’s usual spot.
By the way, Jeter and teammate Mariano Rivera tied a club record with their appearance in the opener. It marked the 18th season each has played with the Yankees, a distinction they now share with two Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra (1946-63) and Mickey Mantle (1951-68). DJ and Mo first played for the Yanks in 1995.
Four other players wore the pinstripes in 17 seasons: Lou Gehrig (1923-39), Bill Dickey (1928-43, 1946), Frankie Crosetti (1932-48) and Jorge Posada (1995-2011). Whitey Ford (1950; 1953-67) and Bernie Williams (1991-2006) each played in 16 seasons for the Yankees. When and if Andy Pettitte pitches this year, it will be his 17th season but only his 14th with the Yankees.