Beating Keuchel

The Yankees face a very tall task tonight- beating one of the best pitchers in the game, and a pitcher who has dominated them this year. Keuchel pitched against them twice, didn’t allow a run, struck out 21 Yankees, and only walked one batter. All of that despite the fact that the Yankees tried to stack the lineup with righties against him. In their first start against him, Drew was the only lefty in the lineup. In the second, Didi and Ellsbury were the only lefties.

So what will Girardi do tonight? In the previous starts John Ryan Murphy was the catcher, and got a hit in both games. Considering the fact that Brian McCann is hitting .200 since the All-Star Break, I think Murphy might be in there again. Chris Young seems like a very obvious choice to start, probably at the expense of Gardner. I imagine Refsnyder will get the call at second, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Brendan Ryan start at short. That would leave Ellsbury, who has pretty similar L/R splits, and Bird, who posted a respectable .238/.347/.405 line against LHP this year, as the only lefties in the lineup.

Whatever the lineup, we know the formula on the pitching side. The Yankees will try to get the game from Tanaka to the big 3 in the bullpen. Considering the stakes of this game, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them use each of them for multiple innings- meaning you could see Girardi pull Tanaka really early and bring in Wilson if necessary. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, and let’s enjoy this game. It’s been a few years since we have been able to enjoy a playoff game in the Bronx. Play Ball!