Girardi Has a Plan For The Subway Series

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IJune 26, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 13:  Joe Girardi #27 of the New York Yankees walks through the dugout in a game against the New York Mets on June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Joe Girardi has been around the New York Yankees for a number of years in several different capacities. He has seen a bunch of Subway Series with the Mets.

And he has learned how much it means to Yankee owners to beat the Mets.

Girardi has apparently been under a great deal of stress to win the series with his cross town rivals to the point of ignoring the last few games trying to prepare for the Metropolitans.

There are even reports that the reason he intentionally got tossed from the Braves game on Wednesday night was so he could go back to the visitors' manager's office and work on his "strategery" for the Mets.

And in last night's game when Andy Pettitte had thrown 95 pitches in the fourth inning and had allowed the Braves to fight back against the Yankees eight runs, Girardi was back in the clubhouse looking at charts on the Mets.

Girardi held a team meeting before last night's finale with the Braves to instruct his players on how he intends to prevail over Jerry Manuel's squad.

An unnamed player has reported that Girardi first instructed every hitter to concentrate on hitting pop ups to the right side of the Met infield to take advantage of Luis Castillo.

Since the Yankees will be playing their third straight series in National League parks and cannot use the designated hitter, Girardi is obviously desperate to get Hideki Matsui's bat in the lineup.

For that reason, Girardi plans to start Matsui at second base for all three games. The anonymous player said that Girardi has calculated the distance a second baseman must cover in an average game and that it is much less than a left fielder. 

He also took into account how much farther a player has to run to get to the outfield at the start of each inning. There is at least some speculation that Girardi did this while thinking about the Yankees being in the first base dugout at home rather than in the visitor's dugout at Citi Field. Apparently he has been working on this plan since the Mets played at the Stadium last week.

For that reason Girardi has determined that Matsui can play second base without risk of blowing out his knees.

Girardi also has decided that Robinson Cano needs the next three days off because he is just worn out. Girardi has been known for his philosophy of giving frequent rest to his players so that they are fresh when the playoffs come, even with a player as young as Cano.

Girardi has also decided that Alex Rodriguez must be in the lineup but that the fatigue that has plagued ARod recently is still a concern.

For that reason Girardi will have ARod play first base where there will be less wear on his legs than at first. Mark Teixeira, the gold glove first baseman will be inserted at third and if the experiment works in the Mets' series, fans can expect Teixeira to remain at third, at least for the rest of the season.

Jorge Posada will be moved to center field and Brett Gardner will become the Yankees starting catcher. Girardi considered the problem of Gardner throwing left handed but realized that there was a left hander's catcher mitt in the clubhouse that Andy Pettitte used to play catch with his sons.

Girardi expects Gardner's speed to compensate for all the passed balls that may result from his lack of experience behind the plate.

The unnamed player said that in an effort to get closer to his manager, Gardner had requested to play the position Joe had played in the bigs. Girardi apparently even offered to let "Gardy" use his old cup.

After Mariano Rivera showed his expertise with the stick on Wednesday night in Atlanta, Girardi will insert him in the lineup in right field and he will bat second behind Johnny Damon who will leadoff and stay in left field.

The only possible hitch to the plan for Mariano is that Nick Swisher's feelings may be hurt again and if Swish asks to be put back in the lineup, Girardi may concede and find another place for Mo to play.

Derek Jeter jammed his right foot again on one of his four hits last night and Giradi has decided, with the re-emergence of Cody Ransom, that Jeter can be given a weekend of rest. Jeter is reported to be headed to Southern California and will not be in the City at all this weekend.

Ransom will start at short and hit cleanup as ARod is moved down to eighth in the lineup. Girardi apparently indicated that he wants to resurrect Joe Torre's playoff experiment of ARod hitting eighth which was used in the Division Playoffs against Detroit a few years ago.

As for the pitching staff Girardi announced publicly this morning that Chien-Ming Wang's role is once more undecided. There is speculation that Swisher has some photos of Girardi and Brett Gardner together and that Wang's starting job may go to Swisher if he wants it.

CC Sabathia is scheduled to start the first game of the series tonight, but after coming out early in his last start with tightness in his left biceps, Girardi is considering using CC out of the pen to limit his innings and get him stretched out so he can resume his role as a starter after the All Star break.

If Girardi decides on this last minute switch, he is considering using Melky Cabrera as his starter since Melky throws left handed and has been spending a lot of time with the starting pitchers in the dug out lately.