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Yankees striking out at designated hitter spot

The Yankees' Chase Headley takes batting practice before

The Yankees' Chase Headley takes batting practice before ALCS Game 1 against the Astros on Oct. 13, 2017, in Houston. Credit: AP / Tony Gutierrez

Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Holliday have totaled 4,897 hits in their major-league careers, including postseason.

Well, not including this postseason.

That trio — the players the Yankees have used at designated hitter in the playoffs — are a combined 0-for-27 with 11 strikeouts after eight games.

“That’s the crazy thing about baseball,” said Headley, who has had 15 at-bats to nine for Ellsbury and three for Holliday. “In small sample sizes, you can go 8-for-10 or you can go 0-for-15 in a hurry. I think in those 15 at-bats, there’s been a handful of them I’ve done a pretty good job and just haven’t gotten the results. You’ve just got to keep going and keep grinding through it and trust that the process is going to produce results eventually. Be ready when you’re called. That’s really all you can do.”

In Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Houston in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park, Headley went 0-for-3. He was robbed of an extra-base hit on a leaping catch at the rightfield wall by Josh Reddick, lined to center and struck out against Justin Verlander, who threw a complete game.

In Friday’s 2-1 loss, Holliday went 0-for-3 in his first appearance of the postseason. Facing lefthander Dallas Keuchel, he wasted no time, seeing six pitches and swinging at all of them. Unsuccessfully.

Ellsbury pinch hit for Holliday in the ninth inning against Ken Giles and struck out to end the game.

With the Yankees facing a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series, whom will manager Joe Girardi start at DH against Charlie Morton in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Monday night? And does it even matter?

Holliday is the only one of the trio who faced Morton this season. He hit a three-run home run off the righthander on May 14 and is 11-for-37 (.297) with three home runs and 10 RBIs against him. Headley is 3-for-12 against Morton and Ellsbury is 0-for-2. The numbers would seem to suggest that Holliday will get the start.

The DHs aren’t the only Yankees who are struggling in the postseason. Aaron Judge is batting .129 with 19 strikeouts in 31 at-bats. Gary Sanchez is batting .176 with 15 strikeouts in 34 at-bats. Todd Frazier, who drove in the Yankees’ only run with a double on Saturday, is batting .185.

But the designated hitters are in the lineup to do one thing: hit. The way things are going, Girardi might be better off penciling in CC Sabathia in the ninth spot.

“There’s a lot of guys that are supposed to hit,” Girardi said. “Sometimes one spot in the order’s going to have more problems than the other. That’s the nature of the playoffs. I think at any point they can get hot, just like anyone else in our lineup. We’ve had other guys that have struggled, too. I think a lot has been made of the DH, but it’s an effort by all. We need all of our guys to be productive.”

Girardi said he isn’t considering Alex Rodriguez’s TV suggestion to use Ronald Torreyes at DH in Game 3.

New York Sports