However, there was one thing Girardi tinkered with prior to the Yankees 11-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. In a lineup that didn’t have his backup number two hitter Didi Gregorius–Didi is currently playing in the World Baseball Classic–he decided to slot Gary Sanchez as the number two hitter.
The change ended up being beneficial; Sanchez smacked a two run homer when Aaron Hicks got on base.
Following the game, Girardi said it was a lineup change he was willing to consider during the season.
“I’m going to look at it,” Girardi said after the Yankees pounced on the Tigers in Lakeland. “In the first inning, I think I’d prefer to have two guys in front of my best hitter. But then you start going through the other three times through the lineup and you get a few more at-bats over the course of the season, so I can see it both ways.”
Most teams use sabermetrics to determine where their best hitter should be in the starting lineup. Most teams place their best hitter second. While placing Sanchez second would be beneficial for the Yankees, it’s not something Girardi would do everyday.
Girardi is already thinking of ways to break up Ellsbury and Gardner in the starting lineup. Ellsbury’s $153 Million contract has played a role in Girardi’s decision. However, he uses Spring Training as a way to get players ready for the upcoming season. Hence why Gardner and Ellsbury are still hitting back-to-back.
“A lot of my lineups have to do with getting guys the most at-bats they can now (in spring training),” Girardi said. “But I told you I’m going to look at the lineup. When it gets closer I’m going to look at doing a lot of different things and come up with what we think is the best lineup.”