Yankees have ‘no plans’ to sit Josh Donaldson in ALCS Game 3

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If there are significant shake-ups to the Yankees’ Game 3 lineup on Saturday, they would not involve third base. 

Aaron Boone said there are “no plans” to sit Josh Donaldson, who is merely one scuffling bat on a team filled with them. 

“It’s interesting that everyone jumps on him. I mean, he’s got on at a 40 percent clip in the postseason so far for all his struggles — his, quote, ‘struggles,’” the Yankees manager said Friday over Zoom of Donaldson, whose .393 on-base percentage only trails Anthony Rizzo’s among Yankees in the playoffs. “We need him. We need him to do something big within this series.” 

Donaldson began the postseason with a pair of hits, but one he believed to be a home run that resulted in his being thrown out scrambling back to first base. In the six postseason games since, Donaldson has gone 3-for-20 with 11 strikeouts and five walks, which have been his saving grace. 

Josh Donaldson reacts during the Yankees' Game 2 loss to the Astros.
Josh Donaldson reacts during the Yankees’ Game 2 loss to the Astros.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Donaldson doubled and walked in Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Houston, but also struck out twice. In Wednesday’s loss, he finished 0-for-3 with a walk and a trio of strikeouts while leaving four on base. 

The Yankees hoped for more from the 36-year-old former MVP all season. In the past four years, his OPS has fallen from .900 to .842 to .827 to the .682 he posted in his first campaign with the Yankees. 

In taking on his contract — which has $21 million due for next season — the Yankees hoped he could rediscover his prime, and they hoped Isiah Kiner-Falefa — also included in the deal that sent Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Twins — could be the stopgap shortstop they sought. 

Kiner-Falefa is now in and out of the postseason lineup. If the Yankees wanted to focus on contact, they could ask Oswald Peraza to play shortstop and insert Kiner-Falefa at third ahead of Donaldson, but Boone indicated such a move would not happen. 

“We got to continue to trust that [Donaldson is] going to … change a game for us,” Boone said. 


Boone said he was “leaning” toward batting Harrison Bader leadoff for a second straight game. 

“Obviously he’s putting together good at-bats, had a couple more good at-bats getting on base [Thursday] night,” Boone said of Bader, who owns a .385 on-base percentage with four home runs in his first seven postseason games with the Yankees. 

Harrison Bader swings during the Yankees' Game 2 loss to the Astros.
Harrison Bader swings during the Yankees’ Game 2 loss to the Astros.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Boone said he was still figuring out the lineup and would not commit to a left fielder or a shortstop. 

In Wednesday’s Game 1, Giancarlo Stanton played left field for the first time since July 21. But there is less area for Stanton to cover in Houston, and playing left at Yankee Stadium would be a bigger ask. 

Playing Stanton in left allowed Matt Carpenter to enter the lineup as the DH against a righty. Carpenter going 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts in the postseason may influence the Yankees’ decision. They could choose Oswaldo Cabrera’s glove in left. 

“Giancarlo I feel like bounced back pretty well [Thursday] from his first day being out there,” Boone said. 

Boone was not sure whether Peraza would make his second postseason start. In his first, on Thursday, the rookie made several impressive defensive plays but also threw a few balls in the dirt to Rizzo at first base. 

Peraza, playing instead of the struggling Kiner-Falefa, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. 


After Gerrit Cole pitches Game 3 and Nestor Cortes in Game 4, Boone said Jameson Taillon likely would start a potential Game 5.

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