The Yankees-Orioles meetings this weekend are also matchups of the minds between Joe Girardi and Buck Showalter.
Neither manager is lacking for power when they write out their lineup cards. Girardi has been mixing and matching because of injuries during the season. Now that the team is healthy, there’s one question about who is in the lineup. How to balance Todd Frazier, Chase Headley and Greg Bird?
Frazier hit a three-run homer last night and hit two on the recent road trip, including a three-run blast at Citi Field against the Rays. Headley is hitting .315 with eight home runs in 49 games since becoming the primary first baseman. And Bird has two homers and 10 RBI in 15 games since coming off the DL.
“I look at matchups,” Girardi said. “Trying to give each of them three out of four days. Sometimes the left hander will determine that, who is going to play.”
Frazier isn’t in the starting lineup tonight only because of a back issue but is available off the bench.
“It’s just paying attention to the schedule for me, and picking spots and looking at matchups, and who should be in there any maybe who should maybe not be in there,” Girardi said.
In 2017, lineup construction is all about power. The Yankees have hit 212 home runs so far. Baltimore isn’t made up of slouches either.
“They have nine guys in their lineup that’s probably going to hit 20 home runs,” Girardi said. “That didn’t happen when I played. You might have three, four, five, three-hitters, four-hitters, five-hitters, but not nine. And you look around and it almost seems like every club. So the game has changed.”
It seems like everybody has gotten away from small ball at least as a primary way of scoring. Joe Torre had been commended for bringing a “National League” style of baseball to the Yankees in 1996, including his catcher, Joe Girardi, in his first season in the Junior Circuit.
“There’s a lot less stolen bases, there’s a lot less bunting, there’s a lot less hitting and running,” Girardi said. “You don’t give outs away.”