With the A’s starting a lefty, Jacoby Ellsbury found himself on the bench Tuesday night against Eric Surkamp. He may have to get used to it in the coming weeks with more lefthanders on the horizon.
Brett Gardner was benched in the season’s first game against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel — Aaron Hicks got the start — but Gardner is off to a fast start, posting a .314/.442/.429 (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) slash line entering the game. Ellsbury (.213/.260/.298), is not.
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“We’re going to see a lot of lefties in the next nine, 10 days,’’ Joe Girardi said, “so Hicksie’s probably going to get a lot of at-bats because he’s been so good against lefthanders in his career.”
The Yankees acquired Hicks from the Twins in the offseason to balance their lineup against lefthanders. Hicks came in 0-for-8 against lefties but has a career .263/.325/.432 slash line against them.
Ellsbury, typically a standout fielder, also has slumped in that department. Although he has not been charged with an error, he misplayed two fly balls, one in Detroit and one in Toronto, and let a runner score from first on a single during last weekend’s series against the Mariners.
“I don’t think he’s played as well as he’s capable of playing,” Girardi said. “It just seems like he’s misjudged the ball a couple of times. He’s a good centerfielder and he’s going to play a good centerfield for us.”
Ellsbury ran for Chase Headley in the ninth inning and was caught stealing for the second out.
Mixing it up
Tuesday night’s batting order represented the ninth different lineup Girardi has used in 12 games this season. It featured the hot Starlin Castro hitting second and the struggling Alex Rod riguez fifth.
“Some of it is you’re trying to get guys going,” Girardi said. “Sometimes you might drop a guy just to give him a different view. At the top, maybe they put too much pressure on themselves. Maybe a guy’s swinging the bat well and you move them up. You want a consistent lineup but you can’t be so rigid that you won’t change it.”