Good news for Phillies: Yanks bench Swisher, Posada

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Jorge Posada’s absence was expected with Jose Molina having caught A.J. Burnett in each of the right-hander’s three previous postseason starts, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the surprising decision Thursday to remove Nick Swisher from the starting lineup for Game 2 of the World Series and replace him with Jerry Hairston Jr. in right field.
The changes subtract two players who combined for 51 homers and 163 RBI in 864 at-bats this year in exchange for two players who combined for 11 homers and 43 RBI in 521 at-bats.
Swisher has struggled mightily in the postseason, coming in at 4-for-35 with a 12/3 K/BB ratio. Still, that hardly outweighs his 869 OPS for the year or his 924 mark after the All-Star break. Girardi pointed to the fact that Hairston is 10-for-27 lifetime against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez, even though most of those at-bats came many years ago. Most of those hits were singles anyway, and not a one of them drove in a run.
The Phillies have to be feeling awfully encouraged with the Yankees apparently already in panic mode.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.