It wasn’t the party atmosphere of the past few days, but there was an obvious confidence and satisfaction in the Yankees clubhouse after the game; this is a team that knows it’s on an important run.
Phil Coke had some great lines about getting his first save, which he said was an incredibly draining experience. “I might sleep right here,” he said, gesturing to the clubhouse floor. “I might not even get changed.”
Coke said he was so amped up that he spent the time in between the eighth and ninth innings trying to trick himself into thinking he was just pitching some random middle inning instead of getting ready to close out the game. “I was trying to play mind-games with myself instead of thinking, ‘Where’s “Enter Sandman?”‘ he said. Then, when the game was over, he went up to Mariano Rivera, who wasn’t available after working three innings the past two days, and told the closer, “Hey, you’re better at this than me.” Rivera laughed and told Coke he did a good job.
It’s also worth noting that Coke took a different approach on what may have been the most crucial at-bat of the night. In the eighth inning, with Justin Morneau up representing the tying run, Coke refused to throw a slider since Morneau had homered on one in Saturday’s game. With Morneau – who 4-for-4 at that point – looking for another one to smack, Coke gave him “all fastballs, as straight as I could throw ‘em” and Morneau struck out to end the inning.
A few other notes:
1. Andy Pettitte took a grounder off his thumb but said he was fine. He said his stuff was so bad tonight that “I don’t know how I got anyone out” and praised Francisco Cervelli for helping him battle through. Cervelli is definitely impressing both in dealing with the pitchers and handling the bat.
2. Whether it’s really a factor or not, Mark Teixeira believes A-Rod’s presence is helping him. Teixeira is 13-of-36 with five home runs since A-Rod came off the DL. “I think I’ve seen better pitches and it’s an extra hitter in the lineup that the pitcher has to worry about,” Teixeira said.
3. No word yet on what roster move the Yankees will make to get Bruney active. I know there’s a large contingent hoping Jose Veras is the one to go and he’s certainly a real possibility. Check back tomorrow afternoon and I’ll update as soon as we know something.
With that, I’m heading home. Great job everyone tonight as we went over 1,000 comments on the game post. Not bad for a Monday in May, though perhaps everyone was just in a talkative mood because it was International Museum Day. It goes without saying that you should all be sure to come back tomorrow morning as we celebrate another holiday.