Yankees' manager Joe Girardi might not be using his trusty binder as much these days.
The numbers were impossible to ignore, but for the second time in five games Girardi refused to be seduced by them and didn’t start Ichiro Suzuki against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.
“I looked at possibly sitting down one of the other lefty hitters against Lester,’’ Girardi told reporters. “You look at Ellsbury and he has had success and you look at Brett Gardner and he has been playing extremely well and important at the top of our lineup. Soriano has had a double and homer in two games he has played against him this year. Part of it is, possibly you would like to give one of your lefties a day off and I am going to play the guys we have been playing every day.’’
So, Ichiro took a seat despite having a .340 (18-for-53) average against Lester. That came after Ichiro wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday night in Toronto against lefty Mark Buehrle, against whom he was batting .421 (24-for-57). I know the game has a heartbeat, but even I would have made sure Suzuki was in the lineup against Lester and Buehrle.
Soriano went 0-for-3 and is now hitting .273 (6-for-22) against Lester.
Girardi was correct saying Gardner has been very important to the top of the lineup, but he is 3-for-13 (.231) against Lester after going 1-for-2 with a walk. Ellsbury went 1-for-3 and is 4-for-9 (.444) against his former teammate.
A regular player in the big leagues since 2001, Soriano has had trouble adjusting to not playing every day. His last homer was May 17 and he is without a homer in 62 at-bats. His skills have eroded, and this is likely his last year in the majors. The Yankees are unlikely to get any significant production out of him for the remainder of the season.