Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher were left out of the New York Yankees’ lineup for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series in Detroit tonight.
Rodriguez and Swisher are hitting a combined .143 for the Major League Baseball postseason, collecting seven hits in 49 at-bats with 20 strikeouts. Brett Gardner gets the start over Swisher and will play left field, while Eric Chavez is at third base instead of Rodriguez.
“We’ve had some guys struggling so we decided to make some changes,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a news conference. “It’s never easy, because these guys have done so much during the course of the season, but we did it.”
The Tigers hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS after winning the first two games at Yankee Stadium, where they held the Yankees scoreless in 20 of 21 innings.
Gardner is hitting leadoff for the Yankees tonight against Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, the 2011 AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner. While Gardner has only three at-bats since April, he’s 5-for-11 against Verlander for his career. Swisher is 11-for-61, a .180 average.
Ichiro Suzuki is hitting second, followed by Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin, Chavez and Curtis Granderson. Eduardo Nunez is starting at shortstop in the absence of the injured Derek Jeter and will bat ninth.