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Joe Girardi: Strikeouts are part of who Yankees are as a club

The Yankees' Aaron Judge reacts after striking out

The Yankees' Aaron Judge reacts after striking out during the first inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Astros on Oct. 14, 2017, in Houston. Credit: AP / Eric Gay

Whiff!

The Astros’ pitching staff has 27 strikeouts against the Yankees in the first two games of the ALCS.

“Part of it is the guys they’re going against. I think they’ve made a lot of good pitches,’’ Joe Girardi said Sunday at Yankee Stadium. “Part of it, you can get a little off sometimes. We have struck out during the course of the season, too. I mean, that’s part of who we are right now. We walk, we’re patient, we hit home runs and we strike out.

“I’ve had years they said that we haven’t hit enough home runs, that we’ve hit too many home runs. It’s just part of who we are as a club. And we’re gonna strike out some, but I like the patience, I like the grittiness of our hitters, like how they grind out at-bats and, um, we’ll figure it out.’’

Dallas Keuchel struck out 10 in seven innings in Game 1 and Justin Verlander fanned 13 in nine innings in Game 2. Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez have struck out five times each, Aaron Judge three.

“The bottom line: When I look at Aaron’s at-bats, I don’t think he hasn’t continued to be patient,’’ Girardi said. “I think Gary’s chased a little bit more. But Gary’s a guy we know that can really turn it around quick and get locked in. I feel good about that.’’

Girardi was asked about the Yankees’ seeming inability to play small ball when their power hitters are stymied. “I think you could look at it as a problem,’’ he said. “I don’t necessarily think so. I think we’re capable of doing things. I think we’re capable of running. We have certain guys that can run on our team. We have guys that go from first to third. We just haven’t got a lot of hits. So small ball hasn’t really presented itself for us because we haven’t had a lot of baserunners. But I look on the other side, they haven’t either. They just had maybe a couple more hits in key situations than we’ve had.’’

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