The phrase I kept hearing the clubhouse was “second step.” Advancing to the playoffs was step one, and it eased a lot of the disappointment from last season. Winning the Division Series was the second step, and it was necessary for a team like the Yankees.
“Our goal isn’t to get to the playoffs and then whatever happens, happens,” Derek Jeter said. “Our goal is to always try to win a championship. It’s very difficult to do, but this is the second step for us and hopefully there are two more.”
Pitching carried the Yankees. It obviously helps to have Mariano Rivera at the back of the bullpen, and Alex Rodriguez was terrific, but it was the free agent signings of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte that really seemed worth all the money and effort it took to sign them.
Pettitte was outstanding tonight. Can’t say enough about him, and it’s certainly easy to see how he became the all-time leader in postseason wins with 15. It was either tied or a one-run game the entire time Pettitte was pitching, and he could hardly have been any better. Jeter seemed to have a big hit every game, Jorge Posada hit the go-ahead home run in Game 3 and Rivera was Rivera in the ninth.
“These guys are used to playing at this time of hte year and they seemed to relish the moments,” Joe Girardi said. “They seem to enjoy the moments together and what they have been through coming up together in a sense. And they know how to play this time of year. The situation is not going to phase them.”