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Yankees plan to piggyback starters during postseason

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Tom Verducci of SI spoke with Yankees manager Aaron Boone about his playoff pitching plans:

“We’re going to be a little untraditional,” manager Aaron Boone said. “The only one we might use as a traditional starter is [James] Paxton.”

By traditional, Boone means a starting pitcher who goes as deep as he can into a game. Otherwise, New York is prepared to script each game with piggyback starters and six key relievers. That doesn’t make the Yankees vulnerable. It makes them smart.

We live in the age of The Opener and Bullpenning™ so this is not necessarily novel, but it is novel for the Yankees. At least in the postseason. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness of multiple starters they’ve been doing a whole heck of a lot of bullpenning in the second half and it’s worked out for them pretty well. The key to that is that Boone has been pretty good of not overworking everyone. Which, to be fair, is pretty easy to do when you have a massive lead in the standings and your offense is able to carry you.

The postseason is a difference beast, of course. Whereas in August or early September Boone can afford to leave Aroldis Chapman on the bench as the opposition threatens in the ninth in order to save his arm, you can’t really do that in October. Yes, there are off days for travel, but the higher-leverage of each and every postseason out makes it more likely that the relievers will be ridden harder. Having six of them, and multiple starters who can go on shorter rest due to shorter outings can work, but all it takes is one disaster game — and in the mega juiced ball postseasons we’ve seen the past couple of years, there are a lot of them — to mess up such plans. If that happens, Boone’s ability to improvise will be tested.

Giants sign Drew Smyly to one-year deal

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The Giants announced on Thursday that the club inked pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year contract. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area notes, the contract is of the major league variety.

Smyly, 30, split last season between the Rangers and Phillies with a stint with the Brewers in between. He did not appear in a major league game with the Brewers. In aggregate, Smyly posted a 6.24 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 55 walks over 114 innings.

Smyly will vie for a spot at the back of the Giants’ starting rotation. If he doesn’t make the cut, he could work out of the bullpen. Pitching in the spacious confines of Oracle Park should help Smyly, who gave up 19 homers in Texas and 13 in Philly last season in more hitter-friendly parks.