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After getting off to a fast start with his new team, Matt Holliday is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and was scratched before the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Saturday because of lower back stiffness.
The offense survived without him, but it wasn’t pretty.
Holliday was replaced by Chris Carter, who delivered an RBI single — in addition to striking out four times.
The Yankees whiffed 17 times on Saturday, tying the most in franchise history. It’s the fourth time they have had that many strikeouts in a game and first since 2010. All four games have been since 1999.
Strikeouts haven’t been the Yankees’ only issue at the plate, where they continue to struggle with runners in scoring position.
In their last three games — all wins — the Yankees are 1-for-30 in those situations.
Manager Joe Girardi, though, said he isn’t overly concerned about the lack of production.
“It’s too early,” he said.
Girardi said he is hoping fewer days off for the team as the schedule gets into its usual pattern will help, but in the meantime, he’s just pleased that they’re winning.
As for Holliday, Girardi said he didn’t believe the injury is that serious, but added he could give him another day off Sunday against his former team.
“We’ll see how he is [Sunday],” Girardi said. “I don’t think it’s a long-term thing. I may choose to give him one more day.”
With Saturday’s victory, the Yankees have opened 5-0 at home for the first time since 2000. The last three times they have won their first five at home, they won the World Series (1998-2000).
Aaron Judge, 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his previous two games, sat on Saturday against right-hander Carlos Martinez to get switch-hitter Aaron Hicks back in the lineup.
“It’s just a day [off for Judge],” Girardi said of keeping the right fielder out of the lineup. “And keeping Hicks going. Hicks is playing extremely well and we talked about giving him a couple of days [to play] this weekend. … Just keeping him involved.”
Hicks walked twice and drove in a run with a fielder’s choice on Saturday and also figures to be in the lineup Monday against the White Sox against left-hander Derek Holland.
After never hitting cleanup in his career before Friday, Jacoby Ellsbury was back there again Saturday. He had two more hits and a stolen base.
“Our lineup got compromised when [Gary] Sanchez got hurt,” Girardi said of the unusual order. “Part of it is breaking up the left-handers [and] I like spreading the speed out.”
Girardi also said he would continue to play Kyle Higashioka in Sanchez’s absence, in order to not wear out Austin Romine.
“I can’t catch Romine every day or we’re going to break him,” Girardi said.
Which Michael Pineda will show up Sunday night? The one who dominated the Rays in his last start — when he took a perfect game into the seventh inning — or the one who was knocked around by the same Tampa Bay lineup for four runs in just 3 ²/₃ innings in his first outing of the season?
The Yankees have been trying to figure out how to get more of the former than the latter since trading for the right-hander.
With MLB celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, Girardi said the Hall-of-Famer should be used as an example even away from sports.
“At a time when our world seems to be in an uproar, I think we can learn a lot from Jackie and how he handled situations with grace and always took the high road,” Girardi said.