Yesterday was a tough loss, but today is a new day as CC Sabathia takes on Jon Lester in a battle of lefties. It would be nice if CC could come up big today, but we'll see. The lineup is starting to look very interesting:
Today's lineup: Granderson 8 Rodriguez dh Cano 4 Soriano 7 Reynolds 5 Wells 9 Overbay 3 Ryan 6 Murphy 2 Sabathia 1— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) September 14, 2013
With Brett Gardner out with an oblique strain, Curtis Granderson is in center field and batting leadoff. Alex Rodriguez is the DH again and batting second, while Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano, and third baseman Mark Reynolds hit in the heart of the order. Vernon Wells gets a start against the lefty, leaving the struggling Ichiro Suzuki on the bench. Lyle Overbay is at first base and Brendan Ryan is at short. JR Murphy finally gets his first start behind the plate in his brief MLB career.
With Austin Romine still out with a concussion and Chris Stewart being Chris Stewart, it's nice to see Murphy finally get to start a game. He's already collected his first two hits in only three plate appearances, but he's also allowed three wild pitches in 6.2 innings behind the plate so far. It's hard to make assumptions already, especially when scouts have praised him for his improved receiving skills this season, so hopefully he impresses today. If he looks shaky he might not get another chance.
The Yankees have also reinstated David Phelps from the 60-day disabled list and placed Derek Jeter on the 60-day. They seem desperate for bullpen help after another meltdown cost them last night's game, however it's surprising to see Phelps back after two forearm strains made him look more like a Dr. Andrews patient than a major league option. He hasn't pitched since July 4 and was essentially worst starter in the rotation at that point, even worse than CC and Phil Hughes. On the season he has a 5.01 ERA and 3.84 FIP, so he's hardly a sure thing.
Maybe instead of trying to rely on someone like Phelps, Joe Girardi can stop worrying about his relievers' workload in the middle of September. If every game is a must win, then he needs to stop shutting down David Robertson and Mariano Rivera for several days at a time after they pitch. Rivera is retiring after this season, so he doesn't need rest, and I'm sure D-Rob would have been a better choice last night than Preston Claiborne ended up being. I understand you want to take care of your pitchers, but now isn't then time to start putting limitations on people when you don't have the ability to make up for it.