NEW YORK -- After Mariano Rivera handed the ball over to Derek Jeter in his final Major League appearance, burying his face into Andy Pettitte's left shoulder as he sobbed on the Yankee Stadium mound, Matt Daley quietly jogged out of the bullpen and instantly became the answer to a
NEW YORK -- After Mariano Rivera handed the ball over to Derek Jeter in his final Major League appearance, burying his face into Andy Pettitte's left shoulder as he sobbed on the Yankee Stadium mound, Matt Daley quietly jogged out of the bullpen and instantly became the answer to a trivia question.
Four years later, Daley is no longer in uniform, but he has made an impact on the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World. Now a Yankees scout, Daley had teamed with Jay Darnell for the better part of a month to track the Astros across the country, and the Yanks believe their advance scouting has made a difference.
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"Everything helps," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "They've pointed out a lot of nuances because they've been on a club for so long that a quick hit that our guys watching on video and head-to-head matchups that our teams have had in season, they necessarily wouldn't get. They've had a better feel for a number of different things."
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Cashman said that the Yankees doubled up their scouts to do advance work on every potential playoff opponent; there are four scouts at the National League Championship Series right now tracking the Cubs and Dodgers, should the Yankees advance to the 41st World Series in franchise history.
A right-hander from Garden City, N.Y., who made 112 appearances over five seasons with the Rockies and Yankees -- including that Sept. 26, 2013, outing against the Rays, in which he recorded a three-pitch strikeout after relieving the great Rivera -- Daley focused on breaking down the Astros' hitters, while Darnell focused on the pitchers.
"There are no secrets in the game anywhere," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "You can find competitive advantages in a lot of different ways. ... You have to have people in the field and people behind the scenes giving you information to make good decisions."
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees' pitchers being able to limit Houston's lethal offense to nine runs over the first four ALCS games is partially a credit to the advance scouting, as well as the pitchers' execution.
Entering Game 5, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve had combined for half of Houston's 18 hits in the ALCS, with the rest of the Astros batting .091. Josh Reddick was hitless in 13 ALCS at-bats, with only one walk.
"I think you always gain from advance scouting," Girardi said. "They sit and watch clubs for a long time. You start evaluating in late August, early September, who could we possibly see, so you've got to send teams out everywhere.
"There are guys that went for weeks and weeks at a time, and then maybe it came that we didn't even see that team. Our guys do a tremendous job. They spend a ton of time out on the road, and we applaud them for it. They're following teams for three and four weeks, and it helps."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.