At this point you’d have to consider the race for the ALCS MVP award to be a dead heat between CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez, and the Yankees – after a 10-1 thrashing of the Angels in Game 4 – are just one win away from their first World Series since 2003. Check back here for updates from the clubhouse as soon as Chad and I get back upstairs.
UPDATE, 12:11 p.m.: Joe Girardi said Sabathia “was spectacular again. To be able to shut this club down like he did, again, is no easy feat. … I don’t think you can say enough what he’s done so far in this series.”
As for A-Rod, Girardi was similarly awed. “He’s a great player – I think that’s plain and simple,” Girardi said. “He’s in the zone right now. He’s locked in. Every at-bat is a good at-bat. You see him not missing pitches. When he puts the swing on it, it’s a good swing.”
I’ll have audio from Girardi, Sabathia and umpire Tim McClelland – who made a statement essentially saying he missed two calls at third base – shortly.
UPDATE, 12:26 a.m.: Jorge Posada kept his assessment of Alex Rodriguez pretty cut and dry. “I think he’s proven that he’s probably the best player in baseball.”
UPDATE, 12:45 a.m.: Here’s the audio from Girardi’s postgame presser. He basically goes back and forth from CC to Alex, CC to Alex throughout.
And here’s CC’s audio.
And lastly, here’s Tim McClelland making a statement about how he missed two calls at third base.
UPDATE, 12:55 a.m.: Chad here with some words from Derek Jeter. The clubhouse audio is a bit spotty, but here are the highlights from the Captain.
• On expectations when Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate: “I wouldn’t say a home run, but we expect him to hit the ball hard. That’s the biggest key. He seems like he’s swinging at strikes. He’s human. He’s going to get out sometimes. But it seems like when he puts the ball in play he puts the ball in play hard.”
• On what makes CC Sabathia pitch well in big games: “His demeanor hasn’t changed. Good games. Bad games. If he strikes a guy out or gives up a hit, he has the same demeanor. He has a lot of confidence in his ability, but he’s pretty unflappable.”
• After someone with a microphone called this a breather: “It wasn’t a breather, man. It was a breather for what, an inning and a half? It was 5-1 going into the eighth inning. Get a couple of guys on and the monkey comes out, you never know what’s going to happen. No, it wasn’t a breather. It’s the playoffs. You never know what can happen.”