Joe Girardi went with his Game 1 lineup in ALDS Game 3 against lefthander Brian Duensing last night, just as he had against Francisco Liriano, and said that as long as the Yankees are alive in the postseason, that's likely the way he'll attack lefty starters.
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The lineup includes Curtis Granderson playing centerfield and hitting eighth and Brett Gardner in leftfield hitting ninth.
During the second half of the season, it wasn't unusual for Gardner to sit against lefties and for Austin Kearns to start in left. But Kearns had a rough finish to his regular season - 10-for-45 with 21 strikeouts in September and October - and Gardner managed a .373 on-base percentage for the season against lefties, hitting .252 against them.
"We're comfortable with him in there against lefties," Girardi said. "The defense plays an important role in that, too. There's a lot of things Gardy can do."
Girardi has said his preference is to not use Mariano Rivera for more than an inning, but in the postseason, he can't seem to help himself.
Of Rivera's 12 postseason appearances in 2009, six were for more than three outs. He saved the first two games of this series, getting four outs in Game 1. "It's not something we want to do a lot of with Mo, but here we did it the first night," Girardi said. "You just sort of get into the flow of the game and you make decisions."
He said he weighs a variety of factors. "You have to look at his workload and how many pitches ," Girardi said. "And if we've had days off and if he'd done it two days in a row. Those are the things you have to look at."
Rivera threw 21 pitches in Game 1 and 13 in Game 2.
Joe Mauer routinely pounds Yankees pitching - hitting .321 with a .413 OBP the last three seasons - but entered Game 3 at 2-for-9 with three strikeouts in the series.
"It's not just Joe Mauer," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Getting some baserunners in front of him might help. I'll take my chances with Joe Mauer walking to the plate. He'll do it more times than not. It has to be all up and down the lineup. We've missed a lot of chances. You can't do that against these teams."
Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who did not attend the first two games of the series, was in attendance at Game 3.