The ALDS will begin next Friday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees don't know whether they'll play the Twins or the Wild Card Game winner, but they do know they'll be at home, and chances are James Paxton will be on the mound in Game 1. He's been on a roll lately and recently became the first Yankee to win 10 straight starts since Ron Guidry won 11 straight in 1978.
The Yankees chose not to add another starting pitcher at the trade deadline and it was a shock when they didn't. Among the pitchers they pursued: Marcus Stroman. During a recent conversion with Yahoo's Wally Matthews, GM Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees had interest in Stroman at the deadline, but didn't consider him a difference-maker. From Matthews:
And this year, when the Blue Jays were demanding (Clint) Frazier be included in a deadline deal for Marcus Stroman, Cashman refused to let the promising but erratic young outfielder go.
"We were interested in Stroman but we didn't think he would be a difference-maker," he said. "We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason."
Stroman in New York's postseason bullpen doesn't pass the sniff test -- it was clear CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ were not serious postseason rotation candidates in July -- but to each his own. Teams evaluate players differently and apparently the Yankees did not see Stroman as someone who could get them over the hump, possibly because he's not a high-strikeout pitcher.
At some point Cashman's comments made their way to Stroman, who spent his Tuesday afternoon on Twitter essentially responding to the comments by tweeting and retweeting stats comparing him to the Yankees rotation. To wit:
Did Stroman make that graphic himself? Impressive if he did.
Anyway, those numbers are full season numbers -- since the trade deadline Stroman has a 3.86 ERA and the Yankees rotation has a 3.86 ERA -- but the point stands. Stroman clearly would've helped the Yankees, who were without Luis Severino at the trade deadline and unsure when he would return (Severino only recently came back from the injured list).
and he's had to overcome people telling him he's too short and not good enough his entire career. Cashman's comments are just more fuel on the fire. As much as he might want to wear pinstripes, I suspect beating the Yankees will be that much more satisfying for Stroman now.