On the face of it, Joe Girardi’s lineup for yesterday was puzzling. With Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez already out due to injury, Joe decided to rest both Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon. This drew some raised eyebrows from fans, as some remembered Joe resting players at seemingly inappropriate times last season. However, a closer look at the events of the last few days helps to explain why Joe decided to put out his weakest lineup.
Firstly, I just want to point out that for all of the complaining about Girardi’s usage of Damon and Jason Giambi last season, he kept both players healthy and surprisingly effective for most of 2008. I think that he does a great job in keeping his older players fresh, an important skill for a manager of an older roster to have. Additionally, I get the idea of giving layers full days off, and not using them to pinch hit prior to the ninth inning. However, one could argue that Damon and Posada should have been rested on different days. In fact, that is what Joe intended originally.
Posada is always going to get the day game following a night game off. This is a good practice, especially with a catcher coming off of major shoulder surgery. Damon was not in the original starting lineup for Saturday’s game. Joe had decided that Johnny needed a day off, and inserted Nick Swisher in his place. However, Teixeira then informed Joe that he could not go, leaving the manager with a few choices. Being that Tex was expected to play Sunday, it made sense to have Damon’s bat in the lineup on Saturday and give him the off day on Sunday. Basically, Joe decided to play both Posada and Damon on Saturday with Tex out, and then give both off on Sunday when Tex returned. When Tex could not go again, Girardi might have selected to place Damon back in the lineup. However, being that he had already delayed the off day once and Damon was 3-27 against Meche anyhow, the choice that Girardi made was the best available to him.
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