October begins just one week from Tuesday, and with the new month comes the pinnacle of the baseball season.
The playoffs are just about here, which means the Yankees will get a chance to show whether they can carry all the regular season success over to the postseason. For a franchise as storied as the Yankees are, nothing other than a World Series title will suffice.
MLB Network analyst Joe Girardi joined Mike Francesa on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming playoffs. Girardi and Francesa were discussing the impact of Dellin Betances’ injury, but the former Yankees manager wasn’t too worried.
Girardi even favors Aaron Boone’s team over the Astros, who are also considered to be one of the favorites to win it all.
“I don’t think it would be as devastating as for some other clubs, just because the Yankees have so many arms down there,” said Girardi. “To me, that bullpen is so important. And I think that’s why I give the Yankees the advantage over Houston.”
The season is almost done, but the Yankees and Astros are still fighting over which team will end up with the best record in baseball. New York is 102-55, while Houston is 102-54. The winner of that battle will, of course, also win the top seed in the American League playoffs.
That top seed will face the winner of the wild-card game, which will be contested between some pair of the Athletics, Rays and Indians. The second seed will likely draw the Twins in the first round.
But despite all that, there will be quite a few pundits like Girardi who’ll predict that the Yankees and Astros are destined to meet in the ALCS.
As Girardi said, he likes the Yankees over the Astros, but maybe not if they continue to suffer costly injuries.
“It does bother me, because I think they’re thinner. And if you have one injury in the playoffs, I’m not sure how you recover from that. If you lose one more outfielder in the playoffs, it’s a lot, because you start talking about lineups that matchup. The Yankees can match Houston in the lineup when it comes to scoring runs.”
Girardi specifically pointed to Gary Sanchez as a player the Yankees need to be healthy for the playoffs.
“It’s not so much the numbers that you lose. It’s the mental stress that it puts on a pitcher. Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine can matchup and basically put up the same number in the playoffs, if they play in the games, but the mental stress of facing Gary Sanchez is always a little bit higher, because of what he can do hitting the ball out of the ballpark, and how you have to be so careful every pitch … you might challenge him a little bit more, not that Austin isn’t capable of putting up big numbers.”
Click on the audio player above to listen to Mike Francesa's full interview with Joe Girardi.