CLEVELAND -- The Yankees understand that they were fortunate to catch Corey Kluber without his best stuff in Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, but as they prepare to face the Indians ace a second time, Joe Girardi sees no reason to shake up what
CLEVELAND -- The Yankees understand that they were fortunate to catch Corey Kluber without his best stuff in Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, but as they prepare to face the Indians ace a second time, Joe Girardi sees no reason to shake up what has already worked.
With the ALDS shifting back to Progressive Field tonight, Girardi said on Tuesday that he anticipates putting out a similar batting order to the one that thumped Kluber for six earned runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings back in Game 2.
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"We've seen him extremely sharp, and I think we caught him on a night that he wasn't sharp," Girardi said. "So you hope that you catch him on another night that he isn't sharp."
The lone exception could be Jacoby Ellsbury, who served as the Yankees' designated hitter in Game 2. Ellsbury struck out in his only at-bat against Kluber before the AL Cy Young Award frontrunner was knocked out. Chase Headley and Matthew Holliday could also be options if Girardi chooses to make a change.
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"I can guarantee you that eight of the nine guys that we had in there are going to be in there," Girardi said. "As far as the DH, there's just some things I'm going to continue to look at and make a decision. I have not made a decision on that spot. But the other eight are going to be the same."
Ellsbury (0-for-4) and Headley (0-for-10) are both hitless in the ALDS, while Holliday is still waiting for his first opportunity to see the field. Ellsbury is 5-for-20 (.250) in his career against Kluber, while Headley is 1-for-14 (.071). Holliday is 0-for-1.
"You kind of look at the quality of at-bats that guys have had during the course of a season, a couple of seasons off of Kluber, how they're swinging now," Girardi said. "You look at Matt Holliday, [who] hasn't played in eight days. That's kind of difficult. So it's just trying to measure and trying to predict what type of stuff Kluber is going to have tomorrow, which isn't easy to do."
All hands on deck
Girardi said that he expects his entire pitching staff to be available for Game 5, save for Luis Severino. That includes closer Albertin Chapman, whom Girardi said he believes will be available for two innings if necessary.
"I don't think you can really say, 'Well, this is how we're going to do it,' because the game determines how you're going to do it," Girardi said. "Everyone should be available. The only guy that I probably wouldn't use would be Sevy."
Dellin Betances has been fighting command issues for the better part of the season's second half, but he said that he did not believe his ineffective outing in Game 4 represented a step backward. Betances threw eight of 12 pitches out of the strike zone before yielding to Tommy Kahnle, who recorded the final six outs to seal the Yanks' 7-3 win.
"Honestly, I was probably a little too amped up, but I wouldn't say it's a step backwards," Betances said. "I've been feeling good. Let's just put this one behind me. We won the game. I'll try to help the team in Cleveland."
Girardi said that he looked at it as a one-game blip for Betances, and that there is a "good chance" the Yankees would need to call on him in Game 5.
"We've seen some pretty tight games in the four that we've had," Girardi said.
Two thumbs up
Girardi said that he hadn't reflected upon the Yankees' unlikely push back to Cleveland before the their flight touched down in Ohio. Rather, Girardi said he spent that time watching "Megan Leavey," a 2017 movie about a Marine corporal's relationship with a combat dog. Kate Mara plays the title character.
"It's an outstanding movie, if you haven't seen it," Girardi said. "And I know I'm not a movie critic. I do like movies. I don't see a ton of them, but I think it's outstanding and it's a little bit emotional, too."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.