A few points about A-Rod being benched:
- I don’t think the question of whether Joe Girardi is right or wrong is empirically knowable. The case for his move is clear enough — Chavez has hit right-handed pitching very well this year, and A-Rod has not. The opposite case is also clear — Chavez’s splits against RHP this year represent 244 ABs, and prior to this year the last time he was an even passable major league player was 2007, while A-Rod is an inner-circle HOFer who has always been much better than Chavez and is only 2 years older. The decision is defensible, but not compelled by evidence.
- Girardi did offer some intelligent reasoning defending the move. Distinguishing Slappy from Swisher, he noted that it’s not just the numbers — Rodriguez was chasing a lot of bad pitches and not hitting the ball hard, while Swisher wasn’t and occasionally was. Fair enough.
- The idea that Rodriguez can’t hit in the playoffs is complete nonsense.
- I do think Girardi deserves credit in that it’s a Casey Stengel-style definition of “loyalty.” I give him credit for putting what he thinks is his best lineup on the field, contract or reputation be damned, especially since the decision is at least defensible.
We’ll see how it works out. Four Game 5s, can’t beat that. Go Orioles!