Girardi: Dropping Judge in order not an option

October 13th, 2017

HOUSTON -- The Yankees are banking that will turn his postseason around in the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, as manager Joe Girardi never considered moving the rookie slugger down in the batting order.

Judge bats second in Friday's Game 1, coming off an AL Division Series by Doosan in which the probable AL Rookie of the Year Award winner and potential AL MVP Award winner went 1-for-20 with 16 strikeouts against Indians pitching.

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"The biggest thing I learned is that every single pitch matters," Judge said. "In the regular season sometimes, when a pitcher would get down behind somebody or ahead in the count, it really wasn't that big of a deal. Here, if a pitcher gets behind somebody, something good is going to happen."

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Girardi said that although Judge struck out a lot -- in fact, he set a Major League record for a single postseason series -- some of the K's were on borderline pitches and after long at-bats against an excellent Cleveland staff.

"I don't want to lose sight that he's got four RBIs in six games, either, in the playoffs," Girardi said. "We faced a really good pitching team, and we're facing another one. But no, I never talked about moving him down."

Judge led the Major Leagues with 208 strikeouts this past season while also pacing the AL in runs scored (128), homers (52) and walks (127). He said that the spate of ALDS strikeouts was not weighing on him during that series.

"Every day is a new day. I go up there and it's Opening Day every single time I step out on the field," Judge said. "It's just tough in certain situations when you want to go out there and produce for your team and you don't get the job done, especially in a big situation like that Game 5. It's all on the line. It's win or go home."

Day by day

returned to the lineup as designated hitter for the first time since Oct. 1, but Girardi is not prepared to guarantee the 37-year-old's spot past Friday. Girardi said that it is likely that switch-hitter will get a turn at DH in the ALCS, potentially as soon as Saturday's Game 2, when right-hander is set to start for Houston.

Holliday did not get an at-bat in either the Wild Card Game or ALDS, though Girardi said he did have Holliday get loose a couple of times for a potential pinch-hit appearance against Cleveland lefty .

Short 'pen

The Yankees' victory in ALDS Game 5 could affect Game 1 of the ALCS, as Girardi expected to stay away from right-hander and was uncertain about left-hander 's availability.

Robertson threw 29 pitches over 2 2/3 innings at Cleveland, while Chapman threw 32 pitches in a two-inning save. If Chapman is unavailable, Girardi said it is possible he would go to Tommy Kahnle in a save situation.

"I think your bullpen is going to be really important in this series," Girardi said.