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'Ups and downs' to be expected in Yanks' lineup

Girardi sticking with Judge, Sanchez, Betances despite struggles
October 15, 2017

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' offensive struggles in the first two games against the Astros have them facing an 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, but manager Joe Girardi isn't overly concerned about his lineup as they prepare for Game 3.Aaron Judge, Gary

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' offensive struggles in the first two games against the Astros have them facing an 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, but manager Joe Girardi isn't overly concerned about his lineup as they prepare for Game 3.
Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird have struck out more than any other players in the Majors this postseason, while five other Yankees hitters rank among the top 18.
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Yes, the Yankees have struck out more than any team in the postseason (96 times in eight games), but they have also walked more (30) and hit more home runs (11).
"We have struck out during the course of the season, too," Girardi said of his team, which ranked sixth in the AL in strikeouts but was tops among the five postseason teams. "That's kind of who we are right now: We walk, we're patient, we hit home runs and we strike out."
Having dropped a pair of 2-1 games to open the series, the Yankees know they could be in control had they come through with only one or two more hits.
Judge (1-for-7, 3 strikeouts) and Sanchez (0-for-7, 5 strikeouts) have created a huge hole in the top of the Yankees' lineup, but Girardi said he didn't anticipate any major lineup changes as they face Charlie Morton in Game 3 tonight.
"If a guy goes 2-for-20 during the regular season, you don't make much of it," Girardi said. "It's just part of the ups and downs of being a hitter, being productive and how carefully they pitch to you. We don't have a ton of familiarity with these pitchers that we're facing. In our division, we do; we're used to it. Some of that is part of being young; you don't have 20 at-bats against a guy. I feel good about them. We've counted on them all year, we believe in them and I think they're going to come out of it."

Dealing with Dellin
The Yankees' bullpen has been a strength this postseason, getting big outs from the likes of Player Page for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green, who have each thrown two scoreless innings in the ALCS.
Dellin Betances didn't appear in either of the games in Houston, but Girardi insisted Sunday that the four-time All-Star remains a key cog in the bullpen despite his recent struggles.
"I expect him to compete and pitch at a high level when I call upon him," Girardi said. "For us to win, he's going to play an important role."

Betances threw a scoreless inning in Game 1 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan against the Indians, then tossed a pair of scoreless frames in extra innings before ultimately yeilding the game-winning run in the 13th. Girardi brought him into Game 4 with a four-run lead in the eighth, but Betances walked a pair of batters, causing the manager to give him a quick hook.
"You look at the three innings he threw in the last series, the first night he threw really well, the second night he threw really well," Girardi said. "He struggled a little bit here the last outing, but he's been through that before and bounced back, so his name is going to be called upon."

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.