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Yankee Doodles: What in the world do you do with the lineup?

ARod Ks
A-Rod flips the bat after another strikeout in Game Two. 

DETROIT -- Just imagine you're Joe Girardi right now. No one other than Raul Ibanez is hitting, you're in an 0-2 hole in the ALCS and facing Justin Verlander tonight in Game Three at Comerica Park. 

Teams go through slumps all the time in the regular season. Normally, you just wait them out, give a guy a day or two off here and there and the course naturally gets reversed. But under the playoff spotlight, everything is different. And, of course, there's no time for days off or waiting. The Yankees, for the most part, are stuck with what they have and it's an ugly set of numbers. Check them out. 

Regular season: .265 BA, 4.96 RPG, .453 SLG, .337 OBP, .790 OPS
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Postseason: .205 BA (53-258), 20 R (2.86 RPG), .326 SLG, .277 OBP, .603 OPS
ALCS: .192 BA (15-78), 4 R, 20 Ks, .308 SLG, .276 OBP, .584 OPS.

Postseason individuals
Cano:
2-32 (.063), .125 SLG, .091 OBP, .216 OPS
Granderson: 3-26 (.115), 14 Ks, .231 SLG, .207 OBP, .438 OPS
A-Rod: 3-23, 12 Ks, no XBH, .130 SLG, .330 OPS
Swisher: 4-26, 8 Ks, .192 SLG, .233 OBP, .426 OPS

ALCS individuals
Cano:
0-10
Granderson: 0-7, 5 Ks
A-Rod: 1-7, 3 Ks
Swisher: 2-8, 3 Ks

Joel Sherman of the Post says about the best hope is for the Yankees to invoke the Spirit of '96. Remember, in the 1996 World Series against Atlanta, the Yankees dropped the first two games at home by a combined 16-1 and recovered to win four straight. The catcher on that team? Joe Girardi. Hmmm. 

But frankly, there aren't a lot of great lineup options. Brett Gardner has had just three at-bats all season but he's better defensively and a faster runner than Swisher -- and how can his plate appearances be any worse? If A-Rod sits tonight against Verlander, how can he play tomorrow against fellow righty Max Scherzer, considering he's 0-18 with 12 Ks against righties in the postseason?

SwisherGranderson is simply swinging at everything and getting to almost nothing and Swisher (left) is likely on his way out of town after another postseason flameout and what appears to be a bitter breakup Sunday in Game Two with his beloved Bleacher Creatures in right field at Yankee Stadium.

What a spot for Girardi. I'm betting Gardner is in and Swisher is out, with Granderson keeping his spot to see if he can catch lightning in a bottle in his old park. Maybe A-Rod gets tonight since he's had some success in his career vs. Verlander.(.333 average, 3 HRs; 4-6 w/2HRs this year). Maybe he DHs and Eric Chavez (9-25 vs. Verlander) goes to third. Mike Vaccaro of the Post says A-Rod should stay in tonight and get one last chance to channel his inner 2009. For what it's worth, Donald Trump tweeted A-Rod should donate his salary to charity. Easy for him to say.

The one guy who's had no career success against the Tigers' ace? It's the red-hot Ibanez, who is just 3-29 with no HRs. But can you really put him on the bench?

ESPNNY.com's Andrew Marchand has been a proponent for days of benching Swisher and putting in Gardner. He says that's a must for Game Three.

What do you think? Pick all that apply below in our poll. And be sure to stay tuned later today for my coverage direct from Comerica.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington
(Photos: Associated Press) 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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