Nick Swisher is scuffling. So much that Joe Girardi is “sleeping on” the idea of benching him for Game 6 against the Angels.
“We’ll sleep on it, and we’ll make a decision what we’re going to
do,” Girardi said Friday. “But Swisher is a good player and Swisher has
done a lot of good things for us this year. And you look at the matchup
against [Angels Game 6 starter Joe] Saunders — he’s had some hits off
“It’s not just one guy necessarily that you think about,” Girardi
said. “You think about where you might put the parts. Do you flip-flop
guys? I don’t ever really rush into decisions, because the one thing
about the playoffs is you usually have a lot of time to think about it.”
Swisher is just 3-for-29 (.103) with
ten strikeouts during the postseason. He had a chance to play hero
against Brian Fuentes with the bases loaded and two out on Thursday,
but weakly flew out to shallow center field to force a Game 6. While
Swisher has been unproductive, you might be surprised to learn that
Mark Teixeira is batting just .171 (6-for-35) with nine strikeouts
during the postseason. And he’s certainly not sitting.
Swisher has enjoyed modest
success against Game 6 starter Joe Saunders, going 5-for-21 (.238) with
four walks, one home run and six RBI. If Girardi decides to bench him,
don’t be surprised to see him go with Jerry Hairston Jr., not Brett
Gardner, since he is right-handed. While Hairston would be the better
matchup against the southpaw, he hasn’t started a game in right field
since being acquired from the Reds in July. Not the ideal time for an experiment.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.