NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi again defended his decision to let CC Sabathia pitch eight innings in Monday's convincing 10-2 win against the Red Sox, which saw the staff ace pitch with a comfortable lead throughout after the Yankees scored nine runs in the second inning.
Should the Yankees squander their one-game lead on the Orioles in the American League East and not win the division, New York would play a one-game AL Wild Card matchup against Oakland on Friday, when Sabathia would be on three days' rest.
Girardi acknowledged he is concerned about setting up a playoff rotation, but Sabathia is no stranger to pitching on short rest, and repeatedly said after his start Monday that he would be more than willing to do so again this season, even after spending two stints on the disabled list earlier this year. The southpaw has made seven career starts on three days' rest between the regular season and playoffs, combining to go 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA.
The left-hander threw 103 pitches Monday before Freddy Garcia came in for the final three outs, resting a relief corps that Girardi can expect to use Tuesday behind David Phelps, who made his past two appearances out of the bullpen.
"It's not like I asked him to throw 120 pitches. He threw  pitches," Girardi said. "CC, when he's on a roll, he gets on a roll and it seems sometimes the more work he gets, the better he gets. You're asking me to think about, 'What if we tie? What if we have to play another game?' It doesn't make sense. I have to worry about today."
Yanks will use everyday lineup in Wednesday's finale
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi is avoiding thinking ahead to a multitude of playoff scenarios, but should the Yankees clinch the American League East title Tuesday against the Red Sox, he still plans to field his everyday lineup in Wednesday's regular-season finale in an effort to secure the No. 1 seed in the AL. He will, however, consider scratching scheduled starter Hiroki Kuroda to set up his playoff rotation.
"Unless I thought something was really physically wrong with someone, I would probably play our guys," Girardi said.
With New York's magic number at two with two games to play and the Orioles only a game back in the division, the Yankees could still be forced into a Game 163 against Baltimore or a one-game AL Wild Card matchup to advance to the AL Division Series.
Traveling secretary Ben Tuliebitz made reservations for the Yankees in five cities, Girardi joked, although the possibility remains the Yankees could play in Baltimore, Oakland, Detroit or Texas.
"I tell you I take it one day at a time, because it's changing all the time," Girardi said. "For me to think out all these different scenarios, I feel like it's a waste of energy."
Facing Lester, Swisher bats second, Ichiro ninth
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi altered his lineup for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, moving Nick Swisher into the second spot and Ichiro Suzuki back to the bottom third of the batting order.
Ichiro remains hot, hitting .327 (71-for-217) as a Yankee after a .385 (35-for-91) September, but Girardi said Swisher's career numbers against Boston starter Jon Lester prompted the move. Swisher entered the evening hitting .318 (14-for-44) in his career against the left-hander and is 4-for-8 against him this year.
Ichiro's numbers are similar -- .294 (10-for-34) in his career and 4-for-9 this year -- but Swisher has a larger sample size, and Girardi likes his familiarity with Lester.
Ichiro moved to the nine-hole, where he will hit behind Eduardo Nunez, who was at designated hitter and 9-for-35 since returning to the Yankees as a September callup, but the only middle infielder available to Girardi off the bench.
"He's been swinging the bat pretty good," Girardi said. "The one thing it does is it's my backup infielder and that's something I have to worry about, but I like the way the kid's swinging the bat."
Sabathia became the only Major Leaguer to win at least 15 games in each of the past six seasons with his victory in Monday's series opener at Yankee Stadium. He also threw 200 innings for the sixth consecutive year.
On this date in 1978, the Yankees advanced to the postseason with a 5-4 win in a one-game playoff against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, erasing a 14-game lead Boston once held in the AL East.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.