Runners on first and second. One out. Trailing 4-0. The right-handed Joaquin Benoit on the mound. Due up is Brett Gardner, he of the big hit in Game 1 and one of the only players to make solid contact against Scherzer.
Girardi, hoping for a home run, pinch-hits Eric Chavez. Consider the following lines against right-handed pitching:
Chavez - .255/.322/.365, 2 HR, 137 AB
Gardner - .265/.345/.393, 7 HR, 407 AB
Montero - .216/.310/.568, 4 HR, 37 AB
Jones - .172/.303/.406, 5 HR, 64 AB
Chavez posted the lowest SLG and ISO of the bunch. Perhaps Girardi was going with the hot hand? Consider their September lines:
Chavez - .229/.269/.313, 52 PA
Gardner - .219/.345/.342, 87 PA
Montero - .328/.406/.590, 69 PA
Jones - .229/.362/.438, 58 PA
Once more, Chavez posted the lowest SLG and ISO of the bunch.
The 'savvy veteran' label wouldn't quite make sense, either, considering Jones' bevy of postseason experience ... and heroics, to boot.
What makes this even more baffling is the fact that this weakened the bench significantly. Should Rodriguez have gone down, the Yankees would have had to rely on Nunez to fill-in for the remainder of the game. Considering Rodriguez's post-injury struggles (he batted .191/.345/.353 in the second half), it would have made a great deal of sense to utilize Chavez the next time Rodriguez came to the plate.
Perhaps I'm selling myself short by labeling this as second guessing - this entire move ran counter to common sense, and it may well have cost the Yankees the game.
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