None of Joe Girardi's lineup changes worked

Joe Girardi watches in the fifth inning during Joe Girardi watches in the fifth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. (Oct. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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DETROIT -- Joe Girardi broke from his rigid ways in these playoffs.

Often criticized for his laissez- faire approach to slumps, the manager refused to wait around for his hitters to heat up, shuffling and reshuffling the starting lineup in hopes of jolting some production from his bats.

But there weren't enough spray charts, not enough gut hunches, not enough moves to spare Girardi from watching his $210-million offensive machine malfunction in the ALCS.

Mercifully, the Tigers ended the debacle Thursday, thumping the Yankees, 8-1, to complete a four-game sweep.

The Yankees managed only two hits, completing the worst offensive performance in recent postseason history.

Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, who have been All-Stars as Yankees, took turns on the bench. No matter what the lineup, nothing changed for the Yankees.

"Obviously, life goes on,'' Girardi said. "But sometimes as a manager you have to make tough calls. Sometimes the calls are simple to make. And you live with them and you move on.''

In nine postseason games, the Yankees hit .188 with 83 strikeouts compared to only 29 walks. They scored 22 runs, an average of only 2.4.

Things went further south in the ALCS, when the Yankees hit .157. Since the advent of divisional play in 1969, only the 1969 Twins (.155) fared worse than the Yankees, who mustered only six runs in four games.

"We never had anything to feel good about,'' said hitting coach Kevin Long, who has one more season left on his contract. "There was never laughter, there was never smiles, it was tough. Anything we tried, anything we did, just didn't seem to gain momentum.''

General manager Brian Cashman called Long "one of the best hitting coaches in the game.'' Cashman was also on board as the Yankees tinkered with their lineups, though it meant assuming the risk that the moves might alienate certain players.

Now, they must deal with the consequences, even after getting nothing in return for the risk.

"Not my area,'' Mark Teixeira said, when asked about the lineup changes.

"Not my call,'' Swisher said.

For Girardi, whose maneuvers ended in failure, the next step is clear.

"Well,'' he said, "I'll have a talk with all of my players as we move forward.''

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