Joe Girardi doesn’t recognize deficits as being dire or even precarious. He points to the Yankees’ recent and distant past as an indicator of what is yet to come.
Girardi remains all in on his Yankees despite losing the first two games to the Astros in the American League Championship Series.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Yankee Stadium for the next three games — assuming the Yankees can keep it going that long.
Girardi fully expects they can, pointing to very recent history in the form of overtaking the Indians after dropping the first two games in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
“I think it should give our players confidence going into this,’’ he said Sunday at the Stadium. “We’re facing a very good team. And we know that we have not done a lot offensively, but we have pitched really well, too. And if we continue to do that, I mean, you’re going to have a shot. Understand, we were down 2-0 to a team that won 102 games and were able to come back. Just go out and do whatever it takes to win a game [Monday] and see where you’re at.’’
Girardi can go back even further, to when he played for the 1996 Yankees in the World Series against the Braves. That team lost the first two at home, then won four straight — helped by Girardi’s RBI triple off Greg Maddux in Game 6 — and Girardi sees some similarities.
“I think when you look at that team, there were a lot of young players that played important roles,’’ he said. “We faced a very good team in the Atlanta Braves and didn’t do much the first two games. The first game, we got hammered. And we were able to fight back. And the message then was go win one game and let’s see where we’re at. And that’s the same message.’’
The Yankees are batting .159, have scored only two runs and have struck out 27 times in the first two games against the Astros. It’s been a bummer for Baby Bombers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, who are a combined 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts.
“There’s been a lot of great hitters that struggled the first year in the postseason, their second year in the postseason, their third year in the postseason, and then they have a big postseason,’’ Girardi said. “You know, I think if a guy goes 2-for-20 in the regular season, you don’t make much of it. It’s just part of the ups and downs of being a hitter and being proactive and how careful they pitch to you.
“And the other thing is we don’t have a ton of familiarity with these pitchers. In our division we do, and we’re used to it. Some of that is part of being young. You don’t have 20 at-bats against the guy. You just don’t. I feel good about them. You know, we’ve counted on them all year. We believe in them. And I think they’re going to come out of it.’’
So at 0-2, the Yankees are in a familiar position. “I think that we’ve been through enough this year that there’s no panic,’’ Girardi said. “There were times during the season where we were 15 games over [.500] and we fell to [three] games over. You come out of the break and you lose a really tough one to Boston and we bounce back and win the next day.
“Guys started to understand you have to be resilient in this game. It’s just part of the game. You’re going to have really tough losses and you got to learn to bounce back. Would you rather be 1-1 or 2-0 the other way, yeah, but I don’t think there’s any panic in the room and they just go out and do what they do and see where the chips fall.’’