The Yankees have announced their lineup for tonight's Wild Card game, and it contained exactly one surprise: Jacoby Ellsbury will be sitting this one out. New York's center fielder has had a bad 2015 season, finishing the season with a .601 OPS since returning from a knee sprain in July. Either he's still feeling the aftereffects of the injury or he just never was able to get back up to speed. Joe Girardi is putting out a lineup that includes both his best players and good matchups against the left-handed Dallas Keuchel and Ellsbury represents neither.
Most believed that Brett Gardner would be the one to sit against the lefty, but Ellsbury only managed an 83 wRC+ against southpaws, while Gardner managed a superior 112 wRC+. Chris Young will get the start in left instead. For those that were worried, Carlos Beltran will be in tonight's lineup after being in the hospital with his wife for the birth of their child. There was some talk of the right-handed John Ryan Murphy possibly getting the start, but the Yankees decided to go with Brian McCann, likely for his power and abilities behind the plate with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. Greg Bird remains in the lineup against the lefty, and amazingly, after all the drama this year, Rob Refsnyder gets the start at second base. Good for him.
All-in-all this seems like a pretty optimal lineup for tonight's contest. Girardi didn't go too matchup-crazy to the point where he puts out an inferior lineup, but he did make decisions that needed to be made–like Ellsbury on the bench and batting Beltran third. At the end of the day, Keuchel is a great pitcher, but he's been worse on the road and the Yankees perform well at Yankee Stadium. Hopefully things work out in their favor.
How do you feel about the lineup? Do you think something should have been different?