The key decision hanging over Yankees’ Game 1 lineup
Asked Monday afternoon if he had a lineup for Tuesday night’s Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series against the Indians at Progressive Field, Aaron Boone said he didn’t.
Part of the reason was what the Yankees’ manager was going to do in left field, where he could choose between the right-handed hitting Clint Frazier or lefty swingers Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman against stud right-hander Shane Bieber.
“Got to talk through that today and decide which way we want to go,’’ Boone said Monday when the Yankees worked out at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
If Boone desires a left-handed bat against Bieber, it likely would be Gardner who finished a subpar season (.223 batting average) on a high note by hitting .385 (10-for-26) with a .500 on-base percentage in his last nine games.
Also lending support for using Gardner is after a solid season in which he batted .267 with eight homers and 26 RBIs, Frazier cooled off down the stretch. In his final six games, he went 1-for-20 (.050) and struck out 11 times.
According to Boone, the Yankees held a meeting on Monday to form a roster that has to be turned into MLB by 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“We had a pretty long, spirited meeting [Monday] at the hotel with coaches, extended staff where we detailed the merits of going one way or the other,’’ said Boone, who was mulling carrying 12 or 13 pitchers. “We are letting that sit and letting everyone’s opinion fester a little bit and hope to finalize things later this evening.’’
Miguel Andujar and James Paxton worked out with the Yankees on Monday. According to Boone Andujar is being considered for a spot on the 28-man roster and Paxton could be in play if the Yankees get deep in the postseason.
The Yankees’ record at Yankee Stadium (22-9) and outside of The Bronx (11-18) has been well-documented. And a big reason has been that their bats make more noise at home than on the road.
According to ESPN, DJ LeMahieu’s OPS is 500 points higher at home than on the road, Luke Voit’s is 400 points better and Gary Sanchez’ is at 300 points to the good. And Yankee pitchers have given up 1.75 fewer runs at home than on the road despite Yankee Stadium being a hitters’ paradise.
Of course, the Yankees next home game will be in 2021.
With manager Terry Francona away from the Indians due to health issues long-time Indians player and coach Sandy Alomar is running the team.
“Sandy is someone I have a ton of respect for. I think of the ‘90s I think of him catching All-Star Games and being part of those great Cleveland teams,’’ Boone said. “I got to know him when I played here. Sandy has done a lot in this game and [is] a credit to this game.’’
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