Yankees lineup vs. Red Sox; Jeter out and Kelley available

Jim McIsaac

Two of the Yankees' worst hitters are at the top of the lineup because who the hell cares, right?

The Yankees try to avoid a four-game sweep at home this afternoon. Here's the bizarro lineup that they are sending against Jon Lester:

Yes, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells of 77 and 78 respective wRC+ fame are at the top of the lineup, not Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter. Gardner needs a day off and Jeter is going to be out for a few days. Nonetheless, it's jarring to see Ichiro and Vern at the top of the lineup, especially at the expense of more at bats from better hitters, like Mark Reynolds, Curtis Granderson, and even the red-hot Eduardo Nunez (7-for-18 in the past week with four doubles and a triple).

Sure, a lefty is on the mound, and Ichiro and Wells have a 112 and 108 wRC+ respectively against lefties this year, but they should still not be hitting ahead of players who have had more overall success this year and inspire more confidence at the plate. It doesn't help that Wells has only hit .174/.314/.317 against Lester for this career in 51 plate appearances, though Ichiro is at .341/.357/.488. Oh well. Chris Stewart's in this lineup anyway, so it was never going to be optimal.

After being removed from yesterday's game, Jeter's CT scan came back negative, but he still has ankle soreness. Joe Girardi said that he would stay out of the lineup for a few days to rest, then they will reevaluate him. That's a better report than it initially seemed, but it's still hard to shake the feeling that Jeter's nightmare 2013 might have ended yesterday. Shutting down to prepare for next year might be better for him at this point than risking further injury just to get his struggling bat into the lineup.

Reliever Shawn Kelley was unavailable for the past few games due to a triceps injury, but he says he's healthy today and ready to pitch. He will almost certainly be needed with Boone Logan and David Robertson both on the shelf.  Hopefully the Kelley that almost single-handedly blew the game last Sunday against the Orioles doesn't show up.

Girardi also said that David Huff would likely stay in the rotation for now. His next start would be Thursday in Camden Yards against the Orioles.There are not many options for that start at this point given Phil Hughes' struggles, but I would prefer they just try Brett Marshall since he looked good in relief yesterday. Ultimately though, Marshall doesn't inspire much more confidence than Huff, so it's whatever. Yanks will need to bring their bats against the O's that day.

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