Swisher in lineup vs. Pedro in Game 6
Hairston on bench as Gardner starts in center field
NEW YORK -- With no more than two games remaining in the World Series, it seems that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is done tinkering with his lineup.
Rather than play Jerry Hairston Jr., who has fine career numbers against Phillies starting pitcher Pedro Martinez, Girardi elected to proceed with his regular lineup in Wednesday's Game 6 -- meaning that Nick Swisher started in right field, and Brett Gardner, a sub for the injured Melky Cabrera, started in center.
"Swish has been our everyday right fielder," Girardi said, referencing his decision to bench Swisher in Game 2. "We thought it was important that Swish just sit down for a day. His at-bats have been very good since we sat him down."
In Game 3, his first game back in the starting lineup, Swisher doubled and homered in a win over the Phillies. Since then, he is 0-for-5 -- but he has drawn three walks in two games and has seen an average of 4.9 pitches per plate appearance.
That, in Girardi's eyes, was more important than the presence of Hairston, who is 11-for-30 in his career off Martinez, and who singled to start a critical rally in the seventh inning of Game 2.
"We don't always look at how many hits you get," Girardi said. "We look at the at-bats, and does he hit the ball hard, and does he square the ball up and is he seeing pitches? That's what we look at. So Swish has been our everyday right fielder, and that's what we're doing."
Though the Yankees could have used Hairston in center field rather than Gardner, Girardi said he preferred to keep Gardner's glove in the outfield. The backup to Cabrera, who was removed from the postseason roster Monday due to a hamstring strain, Gardner made a sensational catch running into the center-field wall at Citizens Bank Park later that evening.
It is a decision that Girardi hopes will not be criticized -- though in the postseason, he knows, that has become nearly impossible.
"We base our decisions on a lot of preparation, a lot of discussion," Girardi said. "We don't do anything where we just pull something off the wall and with the intent of it working. The one thing about baseball and in life, every decision is not going to go according to plan, and you have to deal with it and you have to answer for it, and you understand that here."
The rest of Girardi's Game 6 lineup took far less decision and far less discussion. Derek Jeter is leading off and playing shortstop, followed by left fielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, designated hitter Hideki Matsui, catcher Jorge Posada and second baseman Robinson Cano. Swisher and Gardner round out the lineup, batting eighth and ninth, respectively.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.