It’s the final game of the season; Yanks relegated to 4th place whatever they do — they are playing the Baltimore Orioles in a game that means something for them, Toronto, and Detroit. So Joe Girardi will try his darndest to win.
But it’s the final game of the year and players’ individual statistics factor into it too.
The Yankees have 4 regulars on the bubble — Joe may sit them so their averages don’t fall a percentage or two off current levels:
Brett Gardner .260
Jacoby Ellsbury .261
Starlin Castro .270
Chase Headley .251
Also Gary Sanchez is at .298.
Don’t expect to see Gardner at all today. One more hitless at bat and he’s at .259. If he gets a hit later in the game and goes 1 for 4, fine, but there’s not guarantee that happens.
Ellsbury and Headley can afford one more hitless at bat. Expect to see them as pinch hitters later in the game.
This would mean today’s lineup could be something like:
C: Sanchez, pulled if he gets hit, Austin Romine backing
1B: Mark Teixeira for an at-bat, then maybe Tyler Austin
2B: Donovan Solano
SS: Didi Gregorius
3B: Ronald Torreyes
RF: Rob Refsnyder
CF: Mason Williams
LF: Aaron Hicks
DH: Brian McCann
From a stats standpoint:
- .260 looks much nicer than .259
- .250 much better than .249
- .300 much better than .299
- .280 much better than .279
- It’s arguable whether .270 looks better than .268 — so maybe Castro plays. However, Castro’s OBP is at exactly .300 so maybe he doesn’t play.
Would anticipate Joe will ask individual players what they want to do; or maybe not ask and sit them as if he asked they’d surely ‘say’ they want to play, but privately not want to for sake of the average. Let’s see what today’s lineup is.
ADDENDUM TO STORY:
The Yankee lineup on the final day of the 2016 season is pictured below.
- We called it on Headley, who finishes at 14-51-.251
- We called it on Castro, who finishes at 21-70-.270 with .300 OBP
- Tex did start and was relieved by Tyler Austin, but later in the game (not after 1 at bat, but 3 at bats).
- Gary Sanchez did start and did get a hit, but in his third at bat to finish at .299.
- Gardner and Ellsbury played thru the bubble — Ellsbury got hits in his first 2 at bats; Gardner struck out in his first at bat, but got a hit in his second; both finished 2 for 5.