CLEVELAND >> Jacoby Ellsbury will serve as New York’s designated hitter in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Indians.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is going with Ellsbury over Chase Headley because of his success in the past against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Ellsbury has batted .263 (5-19) in his career against Kluber, who went 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two starts against New York this season. Headley is just 1 of 14 against Kluber.
The Indians won the opener 4-0 over the Yankees, who were held to three hits and got nothing from rookie slugger Aaron Judge. The MVP candidate struck out four times, but Girardi isn’t worried about the right fielder, who slumped miserably after the All-Star break before a strong finish.
“I don’t really have any concerns about it because as watching him go through some of his ups and downs this year, how he’s always bounced back,” Girardi said. “So I’m not really too concerned about it.”
Indians manager Terry Francona made two moves with his lineup. Austin Jackson will start in left field against New York left-hander CC Sabathia, and Yan Gomes will catch Kluber. Roberto Perez started behind the plate in Game 1.
Also, Francona said there’s a good chance Michael Brantley will start in left field in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. Brantley missed 50 games over the final two months with an ankle injury.
However, Brantley, who is available off the bench in Game 2, has made huge progress in recent weeks and Francona is glad the All-Star is back. Brantley missed Cleveland’s run to the World Series last year following two shoulder surgeries.
“He helps us win,” Francona said. “I’m excited for him because last year he missed out. This year, with a lot of hard work, he’s now going to be a part of what we’re doing. I know it will mean a lot to him, and because of that, it means a lot to us.”