October 10, 2012 — After Brian Cashman passed on a group of high-profile pitchers last winter, he was questioned by the media and everyone else who has a voice these days.
When Cashman signed Hiroki Kuroda, no-one cared. When he signed Raul Ibanez, everyone reminded him that the DH was 40 years old.
But to the credit of Cashman and his staff, they signed two guys who have played in the postseason before and whose characters could never be questioned or criticized.
Tonight, as we enter the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS, the Yankees are in the game because of Kuroda and Ibanez. Kuroda carried the Yankees for more than eight innings, giving up only two runs, and Ibanez came up with one of the biggest hits of the season (or in the last few seasons for that matter) when he hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth off Jim Johnson, who led all of baseball saves.
And, kudos to Joe Girardi for making the tough decision of pinch hitting Ibanez for Alex Rodriguez, who didn’t stack up well against Johnson. It couldn’t have been easy to sit one of the greatest players in baseball history late in postseason game. That might be the best strategic move in Girardi’s managerial career — and I’m an A-Rod supporter through and through.
–Alfred Santasiere III