Commentary

Joe Girardi's meaningless move

The Yankees' rotation moves won't pay off. But the Giants' are a different story.

Updated: October 15, 2010, 1:54 PM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Phil HughesAndrew Burton/Getty ImagesPhil Hughes' penchant for fly balls will haunt him in Arlington just as much as in the Bronx.

When Joe Girardi announced his rotation for the ALCS, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes had been flip-flopped, with Hughes now taking the ball in Game 2 and Pettitte going in Game 3. Girardi cited a variety of factors, but no doubt one of the numbers he consulted was Hughes' home/road splits. Over his career, and continuing this year, Hughes has performed significantly better on the road than he has in New York, especially in terms of home run prevention.

This shouldn't be all that surprising, given that Hughes is an extreme fly-ball pitcher and New Yankee Stadium is home run-friendly, especially for left-handed hitters. He's the kind of pitcher who will be hurt most by how the park plays, and that shows up in the results. Getting him a start on the road in Game 2 seems like a good idea. But a closer look at the data suggests that this is a meaningless move.