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.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:

Video: Aaron Judge hits 47th, 48th homers, now one shy of tying Mark McGwire’s rookie record

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.

After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.