For years, the Yankees had 25 men on their roster but only used a small fraction of them over the course of the season.
Joe Torre filled out the same lineup card every single game, rarely looked to pinch hitters and picked a couple of relievers to grind down every season before throwing them on the rubbish pile. Things work a bit differently under Joe Girardi and it paid off for him on Monday night.
Girardi chose to give Curtis Granderson a half-day as designated hitter and placed Dewayne Wise in center field, the first time that Wise has found his way into the starting lineup in more than a month. After spending much time trying to come up with another way of referring to a decision that helped fuel the Yankees' 7-1 win over the Indians, we've decided to succumb to the obvious and call it a very wise decision by Girardi.
Wise hit a two-run home run and drove in another run with a triple as the Yankees won for the 23rd time in the last 30 games and Wise got a Yankee moment to add to the memory bank. Wise, best described as a Quad-A player because he's too good for the minors and not good enough for an everyday big league job, has had good moments in the big leagues before -- his catch saved Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009 and earned him a bottle of Crown Royal -- but had mostly been a defensive replacement and pinch runner in the Bronx.
There's great humor in the fact that the Yankees turn to a 34-year-old when they need a jolt of speed because most teams tend to find younger players to fill that role, but that's not really the Yankees' bag. Neither is giving up the home run because some people around New York find it a distasteful way to play the game.
Yes, we just talked about this but it remains part of the discussion because those lazy bums in pinstripes hit three of them on Monday night. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher went back-to-back once the game was already out of hand and that was clearly just piling on since Hiroki Kuroda wasn't giving Cleveland anything.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin got the Yankees to swing and miss just five times in 80 pitches so it's not like the Yankees were just trying to do whatever they could when pitches came their way. It would have been very easy for Cano and Swisher to just hit singles and satisfy the urges of the fan base that revolve around returning the game to the way it was played during one of Grover Cleveland's administrations.
Wise could have really carved out a role for himself on this team if he just had the courage to do things the right way. He caved into peer pressure with that home run, though, and who knows what will be next on this slippery slope into the underworld.