Sherman: Joe Girardi is evasive, paranoid and edgy


Joel Sherman of the New York Post took a section of his Yankees scouting
report today to pass along some observations about Joe Girardi:

It is amazing how often scouts noted the look and body language of
Girardi. He
ended up being portrayed as something akin to a prisoner of war, going
gaunt and fidgety. He showed his dejection at bad moments much more
overtly than last year. In fact, after seemingly making some strides
last season in de-stressing his uptight persona, Girardi regressed to
the evasive, paranoid and edgy nature that marked his first year
managing the Yankees in 2008  . . Girardi tends to display his tension and short temper at the hottest moments.

Of course, why this is in a playoff preview is an open question, because none of those are observations* about how the guy runs his baseball team. How can you say anyone is “edgy, paranoid or evasive” based on the tactical decisions he makes or the lineup card he fills out? You can’t. All of those observations are things you can only get from talking to a person or, at the very least, watching him in a press conference.

In other words, Sherman has devoted a section of his “Scouting Report” of the Yankees’ playoff prospects to bashing Girardi because he hasn’t been as friendly and forthcoming with the media in 2010 as he was in 2009. Interesting choice, but pretty beside the point in a playoff preview, wouldn’t you agree?

*And these observations are attributed to “scouts.” Of course, reporters have been citing anonymous “scouts” to give them cover for their own opinions for years. Or, as would seem to be going on in this case, find a way to shoehorn a personal swipe at Girardi into a scouting piece.

(thanks to TYU for the heads up)

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

Elsa/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.