Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gardner Should Start Every Game

ESPN New York's Mark Simon takes a look at the Yankees left field situation heading into the playoffs. He asks whether Brett Gardner should start over Austin Kearns when the Yanks face a left-hander.

Simon takes a look at both sides of the argument:
The best argument to why he should start: The Yankees were 22-16 when Gardner started against a left-handed pitcher, 9-11 when he didn't, and they were a significantly worse team both offensively and pitching-wise.

Gardner didn't start the last six times the opponent threw a lefty starter against the Yankees in the regular season, all Yankees losses.

One argument against it: Gardner struggled to get on base against left-handed pitching in the last two months of the season (April-July: .391 OBP, August-October: .333 OBP) and Francisco Liriano is VERY tough on lefties (A 52:4 strikeout-walk total).

Gardner's presence on the bench would also give Joe Girardi multiple options for use late in games, either batting against the back end of the Twins bullpen, pinch-running, or coming in for defense.
Their are valid points on both sides, but if I'm managing this team I'm starting Brett Gardner everyday.

First of all, both of them have put up very similar against lefties this year (Kearns: .252/.345/.395; Gardner: .252/.373/.353) so you're not gaining much, if anything, offensively with Kearns in the lineup. Then, on the other side of the ball, Kearns (-5 UZR/150) is clearly a downgrade from Gardner (39.6 UZR/150). So, to me, this should be an easy decision for Girardi.

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