Ibanez hits 2 homers as Yankees win in 12th

Raul Ibanez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez and two home runs, the tying and go ahead runs, as the Yankees beat the Orioles 3-2 in 12 innings to win Game 3 of the ALDS Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees were trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Alex Rodriguez, who was already 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game, was due up, but manager Joe Girardi decided to pinch hit for A-Rod with Ibanez. Girardi pushed the right button as Ibanez hit a home run deep to left field off of Orioles closer Jim Johnson to tie the game at 2-2.

The game still tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the 12th, Ibanez homered off Brian Matusz to win the game.

It took a lot of guts by Girardi to pinch hit for A-Rod considering the media would have jumped all over him if the move backfired. It turned out to be the right move though. A-Rod is 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the playoffs so far and the Yankees desperately needed something to happen.

But a lot of credit goes to Ibanez himself. He was slightly above average overall this season, but he was downright terrible for most of the year. Still, he finished hot and that has apparently translated into the playoffs. Tonight’s 2-for-2 performance to both tie and win the game will go down as one of the great playoff performances of all time.

None of it would have been possible if not for Hiroki Kuroda either. Kuroda looked shaky in the third and fourth innings, but when all was said and done he had a very strong 8.1 inning, two run performance. It was much needed for a struggling offense.

The 3.2 innings from Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, and David Robertson were also big. Especially D-Rob’s two scoreless. He has now pitched in all three ALDS games and been very effective each time out.

Up 2-games-to-1, he Yankees now only have to win once in the next two days. Game 4 is Thursday night with Phil Hughes going for the Yankees. Joe Saunders is likely starting for the Orioles, but that hasn’t been officially announced yet. If the series goes to five games expect a rematch between CC Sabathia and Jason Hammel.

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22 Responses to Ibanez hits 2 homers as Yankees win in 12th

  1. brianhenesey says:

    You said Ibanez was horrible and should be kept off the playoff roster. You should no longer speak or write!

  2. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    You have a WAY biased view of ARod and you really need to put aside your obvious man-crush on him and practice some objective journalism. You claim that Ibanez was "was slightly above average overall this season, but he was downright terrible for most of the year." It's impossible to downright terrible for most of the year and be above average but whatever. The guy had an OPS of .761 vs. ARod's .783.

    I for one don't believe that Girardi would have had ANY repercussions with pinch hitting for ARod, regardless of the outcome. Sure the media might have made it a story for the sake of selling papers, but I don't think the vast majority of Yankee fans or writers would have any real issue with the decision itself.

    • Ibanez had 1 good month this season. Ibanez had a .747 OPS in April and a .608 OPS from June 1st through September 19. That's 4 and a half months of terrible baseball.

      • Greg Corcoran says:

        A-Rod was bad this year considering his contract, but I agree with Rob about him being slightly above average. That's not really acceptable from a guy making this much money, especially when we found out later that this contract was given to him when he was using steroids. Now that he can't use anymore, he's a shell of the man we gave that contract to. I am not an A-Rod hater, but I wish that his admission to using steroids was grounds to terminate his contract. I hope he figures out how to stay healthy AND be effective next season. I don't care about power numbers, but at least start hitting for more average and getting on base more.

        • Mark Panuthos says:

          I couldn't care less about A-Rod's contract (except regarding its long-term roster implications) nor do I care that he used steroids in the past. He's not cutting it at 3 and needs to be moved. To be fair, no-one was hitting Gonzalez yesterday and so it seems hardly fair to focus on A-Rod's lackluster performance. But Ibanez has been hot – and he doesn't seem to be phazed by pressure. A-Rod, on the other hand, seems totally wigged-out (to quote Sigmund Freud). Moving him to 6 or 8 might take much of the pressure off. Bottom line is – he has to be productive for the Yankees to make a World Series run.

      • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

        Rob, your comments are mostly inaccurate. You can bundle the stats how you want but his OPS breaks down like this:

        Apr (.745) – Good
        May (.946) – Great
        Jun (.515) – Terrible
        Jul (.825) – Very Good
        Aug (.618) – Not Good but Not Terrible
        Sep/Oct (.879) – Very Good to Great

        I don't see how that is reflective of your summation at all.

        • 18 games in April he had a .745 OPS. He's not getting on, but when he connects it's for power. 23 games in a red hot May where he has a .946 OPS. Everyone has fallen in love with him at this point. Then for a run of 77 games, Ibanez has a terrible .608 OPS. Now this is half a season and he's been terrible. And he finished the season on an 11-game tear where he had a 1.261 OPS.

          So you are looking at 77 terrible games. 34 great ones, and 18 so-so games.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            That's how it goes with plenty of hitters. One home run in one game accounts for a 1.250 OPS assuming he gets an out in three other at bats. Then if you only go 1-4 with a mere single the next two games, you're sitting at .250 BA, .250 OBP, yet you're OPS is a solid .750. THAT is the game of baseball in case you didn't notice. At the end of the day, if he is going on "tears" as you call it, then he is doing A LOT during those stretches to help the team win. They have plenty of other hitters who need to be pulling their weight, ARod more than ANYONE, that Ibanez shouldn't have to be counted on for more than what he's done, which is I'm sure more than anyone expected for the measly $1.5M or whatever he's getting.

  3. Matt_DC says:

    Gonzalez had amazing stuff for the Orioles – I give more credit to him than blame on the Yankees offense. From home I was getting fooled on that change-up splitter (as Smoltz was calling it). .Kuroda was indeed a bulldog keeping the Yankees in it. I am glad you point out the great job by Logan, Soriano, and Robertson. I don't know Alex's splits against Saunders, but a junk throwing lefty might be what he needs.

  4. Greg Corcoran says:

    So glad they kept Ibanez for the playoffs. What a champion. Easily in the top three playoff moments of my lifetime. Right up there with the Jeter out of position play and the Aaron Boone homerun.

  5. seasonedobserver says:

    Longtime Girardi detractor here. I have to give him his props for a nessessary yet ballsy move. He could have made us live and die on ARods rep. But he took one for the team and stuck his own neck out and made the right play. Kudos

    • Mark Panuthos says:

      with all due respect – I don't get the Girardi dectration. He inherited an old team buit for marathons, not for sprints. He's patched together some amazing rotational-performances without amazing rotations. All he's done is win. Can you explain?

      • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

        I don't understand the Girardi detractors at all either. He is a very good manager at very least and perhaps one of the best.

      • seasonedobserver says:

        This goes back a long way with me. I have always felt that Joe was lacking in his late inning tactics and executions. You can argue that a team that goes 0-58 when trailing after 8 innings, the only such team in the majors, is all on the players. I just happen to feel that more then a few of the closer ones had tieable or winnable situations that were left to fall by the wayside. Last night he made a move that, good or bad, gave them a greater chance. And I liked it.

        • seasonedobserver says:

          And there you have it. A chance to send Raul up in a righty lefty switch and he couldn't pull the trigger this time. Just hope its not a fatal error.

          • seasonedobserver says:

            Now let's extamine the repurcussions of not giving your team it's best chance to win. First and most important you wasted a great opportunity to end this series.( and I believe Ibanez would have put the ball in play and scored the run). If he failed Chavez plays third with no loss of defensive integrity. ( He batted for Nix, who was on the ball all night, and replaced him at short and we all crossed our collective fingers hoping no balls were hit Nunez's way the rest of the night). You use your closer for 2 innings instead of one. you drag your older team through an exausting 4 extra innings. one of your best relievers gets injured. You have to use your ace to "try" to win a fifth game , when y could have him for 2 possibly 3 starts in the next series. You gave life and momentum to a young hungry bunch of guys you had down and almost out. Call me crazy but that's how I view it. I don't particular likem the way he manages.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            Your point is that your Girardi-detraction is based on a single non-call in the 8th inning?

            Also, at some point, you have to give the Orioles credit for being good. They did finish with the second best record in the AL.

            Moreover, whatever the merits of blaming Girardi for a marginal non-call, you can hardly blame him for Swish, Grandy, A-Rod, and Cano not showing up. Last night's pitching was ok, nothing like Gonzalez the night before.

            There is also the issue of Jeter's injury. DHing him relegates Ibanez to a pinch-hitting.

          • seasonedobserver says:

            No. My point is this is THE major point of the series, all other factors aside because that's baseball. You are still in the position to win and he doesn't provide his team with the best chance. When the Yankees need a manager to steer the ship in tight waters he just spins the wheel. How many cardinal mistakes do you see in his mishandling of the end game ?? He didn't pinch hit for a man who was 0 for 11 with 9 strike outs against righties to that point. The most crucial point of the series. He pinch hits for his shortstop who has hit well and places his defense in dire jeopardy inserting a player who has been dispatched to the minors for his horrible fielding.
            I'm not taking anything away from the orioles. I'm not over looking that noone's hitting. I'm saying at the point a managers expertise is needed he is lame. Not just last night but over years. It's habitual. You asked me to explain my detractions. I did. 6 hours later he made my point for me. That is the context which you ignored.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            So, kudos to Girardi tonight, right?

            Your larger point seems to be that a manager only gets credit when, in a crucial situation, he doesn't make a winning move. On the other hand, Girardi is going to his third ALCS in 5 years – or, put another way, he seems to manage well enough to avoid too many crucial situations.

          • seasonedobserver says:

            Yes Kudos for the Yankees. And for Joe. Nice timely agressiveness having Tex steal. Nice lineup also. Do you think he stayed with CC because his bullpen was overworked or he had supreme confidence in his horse. That 8th was tense. I've made my point a long time ago. You keep trying to twist it. As for the ALCS, big feat for a Yankee Manager in the last 20 years, Torre made it 60% of the time too over that period.. Since 1994 the only time they missed the playoffs was undrer Girardi. Let's just say that I've had my issues with his late game tactics and you don't think it's fair to judge him soley on that criteria. Deal? Now let's PLAY BALL tonight.
            Boy that day off woulda been nice.