10/20/09 6:14 PM ET
Posada rises in order against Kazmir
With high mark vs. lefty, catcher bats fifth; Matsui to sixth
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
Rather than proceed with his usual lineup, Girardi flipped Jorge Posada into the fifth spot and dropped Hideki Matsui down to sixth, in an effort to better match up against Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir.
"The reason we flip-flopped Jorge and Matsui today is Jorge has had a lot of success off Kazmir," Girardi said. "That is the only reason that we flip-flopped the two of them."
Certainly, the move seems justified. Posada is a .440 hitter off Kazmir in 25 career at-bats, with three doubles and a home run. Matsui, meanwhile, an atypically strong hitter against left-handed pitching, has posted a .179 mark with one home run in 28 at-bats off the Angels lefty.
Tuesday's game marks the first time this postseason that Matsui has not started in the fifth spot of the lineup. Posada has sat out two games already, on the two occasions that A.J. Burnett has pitched.
Despite the minor tweak, however, Girardi made no major changes to his lineup for what should be a critical Game 4. Derek Jeter remained in the leadoff spot, playing shortstop, followed by Johnny Damon in left field, Mark Teixeira at first base, Alex Rodriguez at third base and Posada at catcher.
Matsui batted sixth, before Robinson Cano at second base, Nick Swisher in right field and Melky Cabrera in center.
The fact that Girardi continues to pencil Swisher's name into the lineup is telling, considering the right fielder has gone 2-for-10 with five strikeouts in the ALCS after finishing the AL Division Series 1-for-12 with four strikeouts.
Swisher, known for his selectivity at the plate, has walked just twice all postseason and has been a major reason why the bottom of Girardi's lineup -- one of the league's best on paper -- has struggled to produce over the first two weeks of postseason play.
"We've had some guys that have struggled a little bit in the playoffs," Girardi said. "Swisher is not the only one. Guys are going to struggle during the course of the season. You just don't give up on a guy if he's struggling, because usually the flip side of that is they're due to get hot, so we feel good about Swish today."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.