With the season on the line, Joe Girardi is getting creative. Lineups have been posted for tonights win-or-go-home game against the Houston Astros, and there are some surprising omissions. Here’s tonight’s lineup:
The biggest eye-opener is the absence of Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedy centerfielder making over $150 million. Neither Gardner nor Ellsbury have great numbers against the Astros’ ace Dallas Keuchel, but Girardi said he went with Gardner due to his overall “body of work” against left-handed pitching. Indeed, the numbers support that argument: On the season, Gardner is hitting .276/.361/.400 against left-handers while Ellsbury is hitting .253/.327/.325.
Despite Ellsbury being benched, Girardi is reportedly planning to use him somewhere throughout the game, either as a defensive replacement or a pinch-hitter against a right-hander coming out of the Astros bullpen.
Other interesting moves include the inclusion of McCann following some speculation that Girardi may have gone with the right-handed John Ryan Murphy, who also has great numbers catching Masahiro Tanaka. Also notably, Refsnyder, the August call-up, has gotten the nod at second.