In which I pretend to be above passing along Derek and Minka news even though I’m really not

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I got an email from a publicist a little while ago linking me to a report in “Life & Style Weekly” about Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly being back together. The email said that whoever writes about it “MUST CREDIT LIFE & STYLE WEEKLY.”  So this is credit. Here’s the story over there.  Though, really, you probably want to buy the paper copy, so you can learn why Pippa Middleton is “undateable.”

I mocked all of this on Twitter, but I shouldn’t have. There are people who care about this stuff. And I’m not above getting the page views for linking it, so we’re all a part of the same ugly little celebrity-chasing culture. I’ll own it.

Anyway, in case you care:

… they were seen strolling around the prestigious Musée d’Orsay in Paris on Dec. 29. “They had a guide taking them around on the fifth floor, and they were looking at Monet and the works of other French impressionists,” Pepperdine University student Jaime Olaez, who saw the couple at the art museum, tells Life & Style. “They went to all the different floors; they looked at Van Gogh. Derek was very low-key and was wearing a black-and-gray sweater. Minka looked very pretty. She was wearing white jeans, a brown jacket and boots.”

The Pepperdine student also got audio of their conversation:

Derek: Minka, you’re doing a great job showing me the museum, the Vermeer is quite good, simple, vibrant, but his work definitely fell off as he got older.
Minka: Remind you of anyone?
Derek: And I always confuse Monet and Manet. Now which one married his mistress?
Minka: Monet.
Derek: Right, and then Manet had syphilis.
Minka: They also painted occasionally.

Can I go home yet?  Oh, wait.

Damn.

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

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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.