Yankees’ Matt Carpenter struggles continue despite late hit

The playoff numbers were ugly for Matt Carpenter heading into Game 3 of the ALCS on Saturday, but that didn’t stop Yankees manager Aaron Boone from putting him back in the lineup against Houston right-hander Cristian Javier.

Carpenter had struck out in all of his seven postseason plate appearances before Game 3 after missing the final two months of the regular season with a broken left foot.
When asked what made him confident Carpenter would find his swing in October, Boone replied, « It’s Matt Carpenter. »

Carpenter provided one of three hits for the Yankees in their 5-0 loss to the Astros on Saturday, but he also struck out two more.

« The results haven’t been there, » Carpenter said. « But it’s more about being tough than anything else. »

Matt Carpenter, who scored a ninth-inning single, leaves the field at the end of the Yankees’ 5-0 Game 3 ALCS loss to the Astros.
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Batting coach Dillon Lawson said there are ways to determine if Carpenter is back to being himself, even though he didn’t start any games after Aug. 8 until the ALCS.

The Yankees came to that conclusion during the five-day window between the end of the regular season and the start of the ALDS against Cleveland, when the team practiced at Stadium.

“One thing that made us feel better was that we know his annual average batting speed and we also know he had live bats when he passed it,” Lawson said of workouts.

“Now it’s about getting back to the speed and rhythm of the game against the best pitchers there are. We are comfortable with his presence. Otherwise it wouldn’t be.

The decision to continue playing Carpenter is the result of a mix of information.

« That’s what he tells us and what the coaches tell us, and then it’s about settling in and getting a good shot, » Lawson said. « It takes time for anyone to get their groove back, but he’s a veteran, so hopefully it won’t take that long. »

But even Carpenter is starting to watch the clock.

« We just didn’t have time to come back in the regular season, » Carpenter said of his comeback. « Every day I feel better, but I have to be able to contribute now so that we can continue. »

With the bases loaded and no one in the sixth inning and the Yankees trailing by two runs, Boone turned to Lou Trivino to relieve Gerrit Cole, despite the availability of more high-leverage relievers, such as Jonathan Loaisiga and Clay. Holmes.

Trivino came in and gave up a sacrificial fly to Trey Mancini and a two-run single to Christian Vazquez, ending the Yankees’ hopes of a return to the game and the series.

« I picked up Trivino, just in case [Cole] need help there with background [of the lineup] right-handers we liked him against,” Boone said of Houston’s 7-8-9 batting, which drove in all five runs. « But obviously it turned out that it didn’t work for us. »

Anthony Rizzo started Saturday for only the second time in a postseason game in his career. The other time was the jokers game in Boston last year.

Boone said he wanted to separate the team’s three left-handed hitters from the lineup. Carpenter hit fifth and slugger Oswaldo Cabrera hit eighth against right-hander Cristian Javier.
Boone said that despite being pitched very carefully during the playoffs, Rizzo — who went 0 for 3 with a walk on Saturday — always had “quality bats. He does not hunt and he launches into deep counts.

Heading into Game 3, Rizzo had a .414 on-base percentage this postseason, with Josh Donaldson (.393) and Harrison Bader (.385) the only other Yankees above even .300.
“He gets on base and is a power threat off the fall,” Boone said.

Gleyber Torres has traditionally been a great postseason hitter, but he was one of many Yankees who didn’t do much at home plate in this postseason.

Since going two-hit against Cleveland in Game 2 of the ALDS, Torres is just 2-for-22 with an RBI in his last six games — including an 0-for-3 effort in Game 3 on Saturday.

It’s a contrast to previous Octobers, when Torres hit well in 2019 in the ALDS against Minnesota and the ALCS against Houston, as well as the following playoffs, when Torres hit well against Cleveland in the round of wild cards and Tampa Bay in the ALDS.


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