Girardi wins with snap decisions

New York Yankees' Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters...

New York Yankees' Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters during the fifth inning in Game 5 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoff series in New York, October 12, 2012. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:07 PM ET

NEW YORK - Two days after he made his gutsy call to pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for Alex Rodriguez, with spectacularly successful results, Joe Girardi took his decision-making to a new level Friday, sitting the iconic third baseman in the fifth and deciding game of the American League Division Series.

With tough righthander Jason Hammel on the mound for Baltimore, Girardi started Eric Chavez at third base and installed Ibanez, the man who hit a pinch homer in the ninth inning to tie and another in the 13th inning to win on Wednesday, as the DH.

Rodriguez had just two singles in 16 at-bats in this series and had struggled all the way down the stretch. In his last 84 at-bats, Rodriguez had only one extra-base hit and no home runs.

In this series, he looked completely off-balance, especially against right-handers. He seemed unable to catch up to a fastball and on the off-speed pitches.

“It is difficult,” said Girardi. “He has meant a lot to the organization and the game of baseball over the years but he’s struggled and I made a decision to start (Chavez) at third. Chavez has hit righthanders well this year.”

Rodriguez has five years and $114 million left on his contract and these kinds of decisions are probably just the start of an awkward relationship between the future Hall of Famer and the manager but Girardi can’t concern himself with that.

“I ain’t worried about years ahead,” said the manager “Just let me worry about today.”

Which brings us to the League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers — a team with no left-handed starters and just power-armed righties who give A-Rod a lot of trouble right now.

Girardi didn’t want to discuss that after the win.

“I’m going to worry about tonight,” said the manager. “I’ll have a lineup for everybody (Saturday).”


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