Stanton went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Yankees’ 4-1 Game 5 victory over the Astros on Friday night in New York, while playing on a strained right quadriceps. Though Boone said Stanton “came out of it OK” physically, the manager said that the quick travel turnaround from New York to Houston played a part in his thinking.
“It’s one of those that I toiled over last night and into this morning,” Boone said. “I feel good about both guys. Even though Edwin has had some tough games, I still feel like he's got a chance to really impact things. I felt like I wanted him in there."
Boone said that he did not want to disrupt the Yanks’ infield defense, which is why he decided against playing Encarnacion at first base, a move that would have shifted DJ LeMahieu to third base and benched Gio Urshela. Stanton is also not ready to play left field, in Boone’s view.
“He's still obviously dealing with [the quadriceps],” Boone said. “I give 'G' a lot of credit, because there's definitely an injury and he’s doing all he can to get out there. He wants in there. He's wanted in there every game, but this was just my decision. I thought this was the best way to go today.”
Entering Saturday, Encarnacion had one hit in his last 19 at-bats, going back to the AL Division Series sweep of the Twins. The Yankees were 5-0 this postseason with Stanton in the lineup and 0-3 without him. Boone said that Stanton, who took on-field batting practice prior to Game 6, took the news in stride.
“He’s ready to go,” Boone said. “He knows there's a potentially a big at-bat off the bench. This is about all of us right now, and I think all the guys are all in on that.”
All hands on deck
Boone and Astros manager AJ Hinch swapped the identities of their starting pitchers from their respective charter flights early on Saturday, with New York tabbing right-hander Chad Green against Houston right-hander Brad Peacock.
“We debated a little bit, but it all came back to Greenie,” Boone said. “It's something he's done quite a bit this year, he's comfortable with it. We feel like he's throwing the ball well, so hopefully he can get us going on a good note.”
Entering Saturday, the Yankees were 11-4 this season when Green has been used as an opener.
Boone said that the only Yanks pitchers who were considered unavailable to pitch in Game 6 were Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton.