He may not be in the dugout this time, but former Yankees manager Joe Girardi is all-in on the Bombers.
Girardi spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN Wednesday ahead of the 2018 AL Wild Card Game, and didn't just call the pinstripes the favorite to win tonight. He also thinks they are the team to beat out of the American League.
"I personally think the Yankees are the team to beat," he explained. "...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."
Girardi was calling the shots in last season's Wild Card thriller that kickstarted the Yankees' cinderella run to the ALCS. He sent Luis Severino to the mound, but it wasn't the result he had hoped for.
Manager Aaron Boone will do the same in his first postseason game as the skipper tonight, and Girardi doesn't think his successor will have to take him out early.
"I think he was probably overthrowing a little bit," Girardi said. "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 took players like Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez into their first postseason last year as well. They too got to experience the heat of those moments, which will only help them tonight.
"I think it definitely helps them," Girardi said. "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."