Yankees DH is Girardi’s ‘biggest decision’ for Game 5

Former New York Yankees slugger Matt Holliday
Former New York Yankees slugger Matt Holliday /

Every position in the Yankees lineup has at least one hit this postseason, except, ironically, their designated hitters, who are a combined 0-for-18.

Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty that New York’s Game 5 DH is yet to be determined. One man who Girardi isn’t ruling out is Matt Holliday, who the Yanks signed for $13 million in the offseason.

Holliday hasn’t had an at-bat in a playoff game yet and his last hit was eight days ago, a time frame Girardi called “tough” for any hitter jumping into the action of an elimination game.

On one hand, it’s a bit surprising Holliday hasn’t appeared yet, at least as a pinch hitter. On the other, the latter half of his season was a tailspin of illness, injury and poor production (just one homer in his final 15 games).

Overall, the 37-year-old put together a respectable season, hitting .231 with 19 home runs and 64 RBI in 105 games.

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Girardi has already committed to using his eight other regulars, leaving one of Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Holliday as the likeliest to DH. Ellsbury has the best numbers (5-for-19; .263) of the three against the Indians’ scheduled Game 5 starter, Corey Kluber.

Although Ellsbury is hitless in the postseason, it wouldn’t be surprising if Girardi stuck with him. Girardi stated in the past he prefers an athletic lineup. So far that has meant Aaron Hicks, with his cannon arm, in center field and Ellsbury at DH. And — no breaking news here — Ellsbury is a speedster on the bases, whereas Holliday is a tank.

Using Holliday also means Girardi would opt for a right-handed batter against a tough righty, which rarely appeases the manager’s palate, especially with available left-handed alternatives in Ellsbury and Headley (a switch-hitter).

In other DH news, Indians manager Terry Francona believes Edwin Encarnacion will be in the lineup for the ALDS series finale. Encarnacion took batting practice Tuesday and ran exercise drills in the outfield. Cleveland’s DH left Game 3 with an ankle injury attempting to scramble back to second base.

Next: Has Kahnle made Betances expendable?

Against improbable odds, the Yankees have forced a Game 5, and the anticipation is killing us. Grab some popcorn and tune into Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night. It’ll be a CC Sabathia and Corey Kluber rematch for the ALDS title.