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Postgame notes: “We just want to win”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 21, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Travis Hafner

One way or another, the Yankees keep winning baseball games. Early in the season, the lineup’s surprising power stole the show. For a while, the rotation seemed to be carrying the most significant load. Lately, it’s been the bullpen that’s provided the stability. Through injuries and call-ups and minor trades, this team has defied expectations in every which way, and surely there’s some satisfaction in that.

“I don’t know if anybody cares,” Travis Hafner said. “We just want to win. I don’t think anybody cares what people think. (There are) a lot of guys just coming together that just want to win ballgames and get to the playoffs and go from there.”

One thing that’s noticeable in the absence of some familiar veterans is that the Yankees clubhouse hasn’t changed all that much. It’s still a generally friendly place, relatively soft spoken and business-like. Veterans have filled the leadership role, and young players have been developed to fall into place.

The Yankees might be defying your expectations, and they might be defying my expectations, but there’s a sense that none of that matters in that room. It was never about your expectations or my expectations.

“What I’m seeing is guys are coming through,” Joe Girardi said. “Guys are getting the job done. There’s no quit. They come to the ballpark excited to play every day, and they’re finding ways to win games. Sometimes when you look at our stats, we’re not at the top of anything. But these guys have just done a really good job.”

Tonight’s was a game of expectations being destroyed. The Yankees haven’t blown a lot of leads this season, but they blew two of them tonight — with CC Sabathia on the mound, no less — yet they found a way to win by coming back against Jim Johnson and the Orioles bullpen, which fully asserted itself last year.

Four home runs in the first nine innings, culminating in Hafner’s tying shot in the ninth. Then the Yankees played small ball in the 10th, taking the lead on doubles by Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells. Mariano Rivera, of course, did what he’s done 17 times already this season.

The Yankees didn’t make it easy on themselves, and at times they didn’t make it look pretty, but if you expected them to lose, they proved you wrong once again.

“We definitely keep you guys on your toes, that’s for sure,” Wells said. “We haven’t gone out and slaughtered too many teams. We need to go out and score a few more runs, let the back end of our bullpen relax a little bit. We’ve kept them taxed for pretty much every day of the season. We need to hopefully do a better job. It will come, we just have to continue to be consistent and win these close ones. We’re starting to get pieces of the puzzle back here slowly but surely, so things will work out.”

They have so far.

Vernon Wells• Of course, this was supposed to be a day of rest for Wells. He would up driving in the winning run. “Nice and refreshed,” he said. “… The way the game was shaping up, close ballgame, any time any of us have an off day we want to be ready in case something happens. Joe asked me if I was ready in the eighth and I said, ‘Sure.’ He said, ‘Go play.’ Obviously the most important one came in my second at-bat. It was good to get in that situation. Early on in the at-bat I was trying to get him over, but he’s got good stuff. I got to two strikes and it was just a matter of trying to put the bat on the ball.”

• With his 10th inning double — the one that ultimately led to the go-ahead run — Ichiro now has a 20-game hitting streak at Camden Yards. He has the third-highest batting average (.353) among active players against the Orioles.

• Of course, that 10th inning also included Hafner’s second hit of the night, an RBI single. His first hit had been the game-tying homer in the ninth. “You’re just kind of looking for a pitch to drive, something up,” Hafner said. “He made a pretty good pitch there, and I put a good swing on it and hit it out the other way. I was pretty pumped about that.”

• Jim Johnson has now blown three straight save opportunities. Before this slide, he had a club-record 35 straight regular-season saves.

• Lyle Overbay’s home run off Troy Patton was his first homer off a lefty since May 28, 2011. That’s nearly two years! “I know he throws a fastball, slider,” Overbay said. “It’s just a matter of getting a pitch up in the zone and taking it from there. I swung at a bad one earlier in the count – kind of go too aggressive – and obviously he hung that pitch, and I was able to put a good swing on it.”

• Robinson Cano’s home run made him the first American League hitter to reach 13 home runs this season. An inning later, Chris Davis also hit his 13th.

• Big night for David Adams, who went 2-for-4 with his first big league homer. “It was something special,” Adams said. “After that we took a early 2-0 lead, so I was pretty happy. And then, when they took the lead, I was like, oh man, this isn’t what it’s all supposed to be. I was like, man, now I’m going to be upset after the game. And then freaking Hafner came up with that clutch hit so it’s like, OK, now I can smile again. It’s something special to be a part of.”

Robinson Cano, Rob Thomson• The Yankees security team actually tracked down the person who caught Adams’ home run ball and was able to get it for Adams. “If I saw (the security guys) coming at me, (I’d say), ‘Here, whatever you want,’” Adams said. As you can imagine, the Yankees security guys are big boys. Very, very nice guys, but plenty intimidating.

• Rivera tied Hoyt Willhelm for fifth place on baseball’s all-time games pitched list. … Dave Robertson tied Fritz Peterson for 19th on the Yankees all-time games pitched list. … Shawn Kelley struck out three more guys as the bullpen continues to come up big for the Yankees.

• Austin Romine was knocked in the head by a Steve Pearce backswing in the fifth. The Yankees medical staff came out to check on him, but Romine said he was fine. “They came out and asked me questions I don’t even know the answers to, even if I wasn’t concussed,” Romine said. “I was laughing. They asked me where we were, and I said, I don’t even know what day of the week it is, come on. He knew I was joking around. If I was in a daze, I wouldn’t have been able to joke around.”

• It’s easy to overlook it now, but CC Sabathia allowed 11 hits tonight. He didn’t walk anyone, and he did a nice job limiting the damage until the seventh, but it nearly cost the Yankees. “Just not being able to make pitches, leaving some balls up,” Sabathia said. “And I’ve just got to do a better job with two strikes of making pitches and getting outs. We took the lead right there, and it’s just up to me to shut the door.”

• We’ll give the final word to Wells: “Those are fun ones. Those are the ones we act like little kids in the dugout. You’ve got Johnson on the mound and he’s one of the best there is, I don’t care if he’s going through a rough patch or not. He’s one of the guys you’d love to have on the mound when you have a lead. Travis was fortunate enough to work his way into a hitter’s count and he didn’t miss a heater. That’s impressive coming off a guy like that. It’s not easy to do.”

Associated Press photos

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42 Responses to “Postgame notes: “We just want to win””

  1. RespectTheGame May 21st, 2013 at 12:42 am

    How’s that failed Cliff Lee deal looking now…lol

  2. Bo knows May 21st, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Normally I’m in Girardi’s corner. However tonight he didn’t do well. Should have pulled CC before the Hardy at bat. Now maybe too much faith in your #1 or something but he done wrong.

  3. Locke May 21st, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Wells is just proving me wrong day in and day out. He’s a stand up guy playing his heart out. I love watching him play and he seems to have a great personality.

    Great win tonight.

  4. Locke May 21st, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Bo – I’d agree, especially since the BP had a day off yesterday. I’m also a Girardi fan though.

  5. Nick in SF May 21st, 2013 at 12:54 am

    They were talking up Girardi for Manager of the Year on the ESPN broadcast tonight, but they couldn’t even finish the thought before they opted to award it to Tito.

  6. UnKnown May 21st, 2013 at 1:04 am

    ESPN games are much better without Sutcliff slurring his words throughout the whole thing. Still had to put up with Yankee hater Obrien but Boone is good and I like Kurkjian.

    I watch the game back again on YES over DVR. This is a fun one to watch again.

  7. Bo knows May 21st, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Tito is a valid candidate but it’s easier to up a level than maintain it. Law of diminishing returns. Buck’s the same attention to detail, genius as last year. Results are different.

    Girardi and the players have established an expected professional level of performance that seems to resonate with the players new to the team. Hafner, Wells and Overbay have responded to this very positively. I would posit that this is one of Girardi’s greatest strengths and where he’s grown most as a manager. He has always been a good BP manager.

  8. 4 NYY May 21st, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Hard to believe what we’re seeing, but it sure is nice.

    In the next 2-3 yrs. a lot of new “young” Yanks will be on the team and that should be fun also.

    Go Yankees !!!

  9. brucevodka May 21st, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Toward the end of the game there was a shot of Vernon standing by himself in the dugout looking on at the field, his hat/helmet off and there was a zen-like happy, confident, look about him. I thought immediately of Bernie.

  10. NYYanksFan May 21st, 2013 at 3:36 am

    People say they are fun to watch and easy to cheer for and they are winning but attendance and ratings are down. Too many interchangeable parts to get excited about.

  11. 4TrainNorth May 21st, 2013 at 4:14 am

    This team just has a great feel right now. Hate to say it, but I’m not exactly looking forward to some of the “pieces” we’re supposed to be getting back. Strangely, I’m not missing even Jeter that much.

  12. ron May 21st, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Jeter back at the ss position should help.Arod at 3b might help,if he bats near .300.
    It’s the grandersons,tex,the .250 hitters with bad splits,and long stretches where you consider benching them like granderson last year.
    I’d platoon tex with overbay,and trade granderson.

  13. Doreen May 21st, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Last night’s game was great!

  14. yanks61 May 21st, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Wow, this is the scrappiest bunch of scrapheap players I think I’ve ever seen on baseball diamond! Overbay, Hafner, and, most incredible of all, Vernon Wells! Youklis was pretty decent before he went down as well. Even with the misses, Ben and Bosch, that’s quite an impressive crew. And Bosch is young enough to still turn it around in AAA.

    Who knows how long this may continue, but I’m sure enjoying while it lasts. I guess I’d be wrong about this, but like many others on Lohud, I’d almost prefer going on with these guys (and Adams, Phelps, Nuno etc) than having the walking wounded back (with the exception of Jeter – and maybe Cervelli.)

  15. blake May 21st, 2013 at 7:17 am

    This team is fun….get Jeter back and it’ll be complete

  16. ron May 21st, 2013 at 7:20 am

    youk will help,but I think it should be in a platoon dh role,and platoon 1b role,with adams at 3b.

  17. blake May 21st, 2013 at 7:27 am

    ron says:
    May 21, 2013 at 7:20 am
    youk will help,but I think it should be in a platoon dh role,and platoon 1b role,with adams at 3b.

    Yup

  18. blake May 21st, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Overbay is hitting .320 with a .954 OPS vs RHP

  19. blake May 21st, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I think it’s gonna be very interesting how joe manages the outfield situation.

    Wells and Gardner need to play most every day IMO and the playing time between Granderson and Ichiro should just be determine by matchups…. Girardi is pretty good at these things so hopefully he can work a good system out

  20. Doreen May 21st, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I think Jeter is the least likely to return…

  21. mick May 21st, 2013 at 8:00 am

    The bench is improved if one of the OF’s are on it and with a Nix, Brignac or Stewart out there that could help.
    Also against the NL.

  22. pat May 21st, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Stupid…..

    “Mattheus broke his hand punching a locker yesterday after he gave up five runs.”

  23. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:03 am

    @BNightengale: Miguel Cabrera, the greatest player since Barry Bonds,share same trait of greatness. #Tigers #SFGiants http://t.co/j88nez6mdS via @USATODAY

  24. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Doreen says:
    May 21, 2013 at 7:56 am
    I think Jeter is the least likely to return…

    I think Arod is actually… I think Jeter will be back….I’m just not sure how well he will be able to move ….we will just have to see

  25. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I would argue Pujols was still the best player we have seen since Bonds….he isn’t that now….but from 2003-2010 he failed to OPS over 1 exactly 1 time….when he was at .997…..plus he was a much better fielder than Miggy

  26. ron May 21st, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Just manage the splits.
    No overbay against lefties,etc…No youk playing 3b.He gets hurt too much.
    Adams at 3b,and at the deadline,look at a trade.
    I’d trade granderson for something meaningfull.

  27. MG May 21st, 2013 at 8:15 am

    really good win last night.

    this team really fights for every game, it’s been a Yankees tradition for a long time.

    so many fans are down on last year’s team because of the ALCS but they fought tooth and nail with the O’s down the stretch in September-they went 20-11 with a bunch of guys either hurt and not playing or dinged up.

    I’m looking forward to all of the injured guys getting back, then you play whoever is doing the job regardless of contract or history.

    They also need to keep Overbay around until they are sure Teix won’t reinjure the wrist (or just find a roster spot for him, period). If it means keeping 11 pitchers instead of 12 and running a Scranton shuttle for the 11th spot so they always have someone rested for long relief, so what?

  28. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:16 am

    People forget how good Albert was because of the last couple of seasons…..he OPSd over 1 eight times. Cabrera has only done it 2 times.

    Miggy might end up having a better career before its over because Albert has declined so early but Albert crushed him in their 20s….the difference may be that Miggy looks to be just now peaking at 30

  29. ron May 21st, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Jeter has an injury that takes a year to heal from.Tex also.Not only does jeter have to heal the actual break,he has to restart his conditioning,and then get acclimated to the metal in his leg causing swelling because it is stronger than the rest of his ankle.
    Technology is advancing at a lightning fast pace,including the medical field,where the fixed part of jeters leg is much stronger than the rest.It will be the areas around the metal in his leg that will be much,much weaker,and swell up because of foreign material in the body,rubbing against living tissue,etc…

  30. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:19 am

    So long as Overbay keeps hitting RHP at a .950 clip then they need to keep him around and play him no matter what going on with Tex…..Tex hasn’t had an .800 OPS vs rHP since 2009 let alone a .900

  31. MG May 21st, 2013 at 8:22 am

    the new baseball paradigm seems to be you shouldn’t sign free agents or your own players to long term, elite contracts that run past age 35.

    With that, the Yankees have a real problem with Cano. I love him as a player but given the way guys like Pujols and Hamilton have underperformed their contracts (as well as Teix), paying him in the Pujols/Hamilton range for 8-10 years probably isn’t good business.

    The problem is that the new CBA became reality in the midst of all these enormous contracts. Agents have filled players heads with the 10 year, $250M dreams and telling a guy like Cano, at age 30, that he probably needs to get elite money for 5 years and sign another deal after that isn’t going to ring true.

    Maybe the Yankees get a break because Robbie has a new agent and wants to play in New York, we will find out sometime…

  32. ron May 21st, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Agree on overbay against righties,but horrible against lefties,wich is fine,as long as he is platooned.
    They will not bring tex back unless he is 100% healed because once he gets reinjured after being activated, the wbc no longer pays his salary.
    Would not be shocked if he does not play this year,and gets surgery.

  33. MG May 21st, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I find it kind of amusing that guys like Wells are always predicted to ‘regress to the mean’ around here while Overbay (who I’ve always liked as a player) never seems to get mentioned as someone who may not be able to continue to play at this level.

    The Yankees got very lucky with Overbay, it’s a pleasure watching him play and you know that he is enjoying every minute and would like nothing better than to get a ring somehow.

  34. blake May 21st, 2013 at 8:35 am

    It’s very likely that Overbay will regress some yes…..he’s not gonna hit .320 vs RHP all season most likely…..but can he hit righties better than Tex with a bum wrist? Good chance

  35. MTU May 21st, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Good morning.

    Hughes needs to get back on the beam tonight.

  36. MG May 21st, 2013 at 8:43 am

    blake, how would you structure the roster if everyone, including Arod, gets back healthy after the All Star break?

    My thoughts would be 11 pitchers plus 14 position players.

    They need to have this:
    4 outfielders
    2 Catchers
    4 infielders, let’s assume Adams is the everyday 3rd baseman and Teix at 1B

    That leaves 4 spots open out of the following (assuming Jeter is the SS)-Youk, Hafner, Overbay, Arod, Nix, Nunez, Brignac

    They probably need only one backup infielder, that means only one more to cut.

    Of course, it’s not likely everyone gets healthy but it would be an interesting problem to deal with…

  37. MTU May 21st, 2013 at 8:46 am

    As of last night the Yankees became the # 1 pitching Team in the AL overtaking Texas.

    :)

  38. Yankee Trader May 21st, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Good morning-

    4 solo homeruns. Do the Yankees now lead the league in solo homeruns?

    5 lefties in a row in the lineup and Overbay breaks a 2-2 tie in the 7th with a homer off a lefty-Patton.

    Garcia goes 6 giving up 3 hits, 2 of which are solo homers.

    Sabathia was tossing batting practice.

    How on earth do the Yankees win this game? :)

  39. MTU May 21st, 2013 at 8:48 am

    YT-

    An ancient voodoo curse.

    :)

  40. MTU May 21st, 2013 at 8:55 am

    New one —–>

  41. Yankee Trader May 21st, 2013 at 9:02 am

    MTU-

    The Yankees are tied in 10th place in AL with the O’s in BAA. .255.
    7th in AL in Opponents OB% .313

    Is this worrisome, especially in these close, low scoring games?

  42. Mike Ri May 21st, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I agree MG— Overbay has been solid .

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