"Both of them played great," Girardi said. "Melky had a tough year last year, but he came into camp and was ready to go and played very well. Gardy finished up strong and had a great camp. We're just going to go with Gardy."
Girardi had no choice here. It seems that Gardner has all the confidence in the world, and Cabrera is still mulling last season's failure. Now I wonder if Gardner starting everyday is actually beneficial for the Yankees.
The Yankees have never really had a regular speedster in the lineup on a consistent basis. And now, the Yankees don't have much speed up and down the lineup until you get to Gardner at the end of the order. I feel Cabrera's bat is more valuable to the Yankees in the everyday lineup than Gardner's speed is.
There's no doubting Gardner's speed. But he can't use his speed unless he gets on base. Gardner's OBP this spring is .448, but when I compared that to his career OBP of .283, I got a little worried. Cabrera's numbers last season were horrid, but his two seasons before that were terrific for a nine hitter.
Gardner on the bench as a late-game pinch runner and defensive replacement helps the Yankees more than him batting ninth. I hate to praise the Red Sox, but did you see what they did against the Yanks with Dave Roberts in the 2004 ALCS?