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Joba: “We understood we had to get better”

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Yankees Rangers BaseballLate last night and into the early hours of this morning, the Yankees needed  a run more than anything else. They never got one, and that was the difference in the game.

But the bullpen gave them every possible chance.

I’ve written it before, but it seems more and more true every day: The Yankees bullpen has really become a strength.

Mariano Rivera can put the go-ahead run at third base and retire three all-stars in a row. Dave Robertson can struggle out of the gate, battle through a tough at-bat and get a strikeout to close out a win. Chad Guadin, Kerry Wood, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain can combine for 3.2 hitless innings after more than two hours of rain.

“We just take pride,” Chamberlain said. “We understood we had to get better, and that was from top to bottom. Having Mo out there as our leader, it’s great. I think bringing Woody in, the fact he’s been there and he’s done that, it kind of gives us a different perspective of success and understanding how to do things and handle it the right way.”

It’s hard to say it was absolutely Wood who made the difference — Robertson had been awfully good before Wood showed up, Logan had been terrific since the all-star break — but it must be hard for him to believe that this team really needed relief help at the trade deadline. He’s seen these guys pitch very, very well.

“You start feeding off each other,” Wood said. “That’s when things kind of click and come together. I think we all know we’re throwing the ball pretty well right now. We just try to feed off each other and pick the next guy up when you go in. Just go out and put up zeroes. Just try to keep it as simple as we can.”

Associated Press photo of Wood