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With Yankees DHs hitless in ALDS, Joe Girardi has decision to make

Yankees' Chase Headley reacts after striking out against

Yankees' Chase Headley reacts after striking out against the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday Oct. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

CLEVELAND — Yankees designated hitters are 0-for-18 with seven strikeouts in the 2017 postseason.

“Well, they’re due,’’ manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi, who has used Chase Headley (0-for-10, five strikeouts) and Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-8, two strikeouts), said on Tuesday that the identity of his DH is the only issue he is wrestling with going into Wednesday’s Game 5 of the AL Division Series vs. the Indians.

“If there’s one thing that’s weighing on my mind, that’s probably what I’m thinking about the most at this point because I know the other eight guys,” Girardi said at Progressive Field. “I know who’s starting. I know my bullpen, really everyone is available. It’s that one spot.”

Girardi could choose Headley or Ellsbury, or he could go off the board and pick Matt Holliday, who hasn’t had an at-bat since the final day of the regular season. The only action Holliday has seen this postseason has been hitting ground balls to his two kids before Games 3 and 4 at Yankee Stadium.

If Girardi goes on history against Indians starter Corey Kluber, Ellsbury could be the choice. Including the postseason, Ellsbury is 5-for-20 against the righthander .

Ellsbury started Game 2 against Kluber and was hitless in their one matchup. Kluber lasted only 2 2/3 innings and allowed six runs in Cleveland’s 9-8, 13-inning victory.

But if Girardi goes on recent history, Headley — who is 1-for-14 off Kluber — did homer off the AL Cy Young award candidate on Aug. 28.

Holliday has one career plate appearance against Kluber and was hit by a pitch.

“You kind of look at the quality of at-bats that guys have had during the course of a season, a couple seasons off of Kluber, how they’re swinging now,” Girardi said. “You look at Matt Holliday hasn’t played in [10] days. That’s kind of difficult. So it’s just kind of trying to measure and trying to predict what type of stuff Kluber is going to have, which isn’t easy to do.”

Headley lost his third base job when the Yankees traded for Todd Frazier and his first base job after Greg Bird returned from ankle surgery. He admitted being the DH isn’t his favorite spot in the lineup. But at least it’s in the lineup.

“It’s different,’’ Headley said. “I like being out there every day, feeling like you’re doing more than just hitting. That’s the role I’m in. I’m OK with that. Obviously, not the series I think probably myself or Ells has hoped to have at this point. I’ve also had some good at-bats and he as well. But just things did not go our way.”

Ellsbury has been replaced in centerfield by Aaron Hicks for all five postseason games. Hicks is 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer and five RBIs.

One possibility Girardi is not considering is using Gary Sanchez as the DH and starting Austin Romine at catcher. Sanchez has rewarded Girardi’s faith by having an excellent postseason defensively after tying for the major-league lead with 16 passed balls and 13 errors in the regular season. Sanchez has none of either in the playoffs, though Yankees pitchers have thrown five wild pitches.

— With Steven Marcus

New York Sports