“Having everybody get exposed to this type of stuff, it’s eliminating a lot of questions,” Cashman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday.
“But we’re not in a developmental mode right now. This isn’t instructional league, either. This is the postseason, and they’re all in. And so it’s exciting times for us and our fans, and, yes, we’re getting experience from it, but what’s most important is we’re trying to get as many wins as we can get out of the way so we can get into that final round, which is the World Series.”
The Yankees enter Game 3 against the Astros down 2-0 — having lost a pair of 2-1 games in Houston.
What does Cashman think about how the series has gone so far?
“I think we’ve pitched extremely well. Obviously, so have they,” Cashman said. “They’ve shut us down, and again, they’ve made some great defensive plays to support their pitching. The series certainly could be different, but unfortunately it’s not.”
When the Yankees traded for Sonny Gray in July, many believed the former Oakland A would assume the No. 2 role in the rotation. But Gray has made just one postseason appearance so far — giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians. He’s slated to start Game 4 vs. Houston on Tuesday.
Cashman didn’t sugarcoat it: Gray simply isn’t pitching up to expectations, he said.
“He hasn’t been commanding the zone as much. He’s got great stuff, but ultimately, this is October baseball, and just like we do in spring training, when we’re telling (Aaron) Judge and (Aaron) Hicks like ‘we’re going to take the best guy, it’s a competition,’ or two years ago it was CC (Sabathia) and (Ivan) Nova, the same happens in season. We’re going to give the ball to the people that are doing the best. It doesn’t matter who you are. So you see (Jacoby) Ellsbury coming off the bench despite his contract. Why is that? Because we’ve got other guys that are doing better than he is. If Gray’s going to take Game 4, it’s because the guys in front of him were pitching better. It’s simple as that.”
Thirty-seven-year-old Sabathia, Monday night’s starter, had his best season in years, going 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA. He’s been sharp in the postseason, too — 3.72 ERA, 14 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
Is there a chance that the free-agent-to-be’s performance could lead Cashman to make him a contract offer this offseason?
While saying nothing but good things about Sabathia, Cashman, whose own contract is set to expire, was noncommital.
“We’ll see how it all shakes out when that time comes,” he said. “We’re all free agents, whether it’s the front office, scouting, player development and manager and certain guys in that clubhouse, too. So that’ll all be for another day.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.