Joe Girardi On WFAN: Yankees Are Team To Beat In American League

Mike Francesa
October 03, 2018 - 6:35 pm
Giancarlo Stanton

USA TODAY Images

By WFAN.com

Not many people know the New York Yankees better than Joe Girardi. Girardi was the Yanks' manager for nine years and led the team to within a game of the World Series last season. 

Aaron Boone is in charge this year, but Girardi embraced his current role as an analyst when he joined Mike Francesa on Wednesday night before the crucial AL Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics. 

Girardi first touched on his ongoing search for a new managerial position in Major League Baseball, and then the two moved on to discuss the game on everyone's minds. The former Yankees' boss had plenty of praise for his old squad. 

MORE: Yankees Announce Starting Lineup For Wild Card Game

Luis Severino struggled when Girardi started him in last season's Wild Card contest, but the 2009 World Series Champion thinks he'll be better prepared to pitch in this year's edition of the game.

"I think he was probably overthrowing a little bit," said Girardi of Severino. "I think his experience last year, he got a chance to make a couple more starts, probably helped him. And it should help him tonight. I know you're facing a great lineup and there's a lot of strange things that can happen: you can get a bad hop, you can get a bloop shot, and then you get a three-run homer ... but I would think that he's much more prepared for this start, because he has went through it a couple different times, than he was last year."

Girardi also spoke about how the experience gained from last season's postseason run will help this year's squad. 

"I think it definitely helps them. Now, in a one game playoff I don't know how much it helps because, again, I said funny things can happen in a one-game playoff. But I think they're much more prepared for what they're going to go through than they were last year just because of the experience. We were in an elimination game in game one ... and then you played three elimination games against Cleveland and you played the one against Houston. They were 4-1 in those situations, so I think they're much more prepared."

While the Yankees opted for Severino, the Athletics have opted to go with their bullpen for the entirety of the Wild Card game. Girardi wasn't surprised by the move, but also wasn't sure the A's would have enough in their bullpen to keep the Yankees in check. 

The discussion then shifted a bit to the overall playoff picture in both leagues, and Girardi reiterated that he thinks the Yankees are the team to beat in the American League.

MORE: Cashman On WFAN: Yankees Comfortable With Luis Severino In Wild Card Game

"I personally think the Yankees are the team to beat ... Imagine a team that won 100 games that there were so many concerns. If they play to their ability, I believe they are the team to beat."

In order for the Yankees to be the team to beat in the American League they need to win Wednesday's Wild Card game. If they don't, their season ends on the field at Yankee Stadium.