August 30, 2012
On the Beat
New Cup of Joe a Winner
Joe Girardi understands the numbers. That humongous binder that sits beside the manager in the Yankees' dugout isn't a collection of the great volume of copy turned out by the scribes that cover the Bronx Bombers on a daily basis.
Girardi studies the statistics and is as prepared as any manager. That is part of the reason why the Yankees have kept on winning since Girardi replaced Joe Torre, owner of four World Series rings, four years ago.
It helps that one other number works in Girardi's favor—the Yankees' payroll is annually among the highest in the game. Yet, Girardi also knows that winning goes beyond numbers and high-priced players, especially as the season heads into the final month.
"I don't think you can put a number on the value of experience," Girardi said. "When you have guys who have been playing for a long time, guys who are battle-tested in pressure situations, it does make a difference when you're in a pennant race and in October. I don't think anyone would deny that."
Thus, Girardi is not concerned that the Yankees have had what was a once a 10-game lead in the American League East on July 18 reduced to 3 1/2 games over the Orioles. The Yankees are 22-21 since then, but Girardi knows the numbers are still in his favor.
The Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report gave the Yankees a 95.1 percent chance of winning the division and a 99.3 chance of making the postseason going into Wednesday's games. What gives Girardi greater comfort is that he has a roster filled with players who have been here before, from Derek Jeter to Robinson Cano to CC Sabathia.