Even when the Yankees struggled earlier this season, their veterans still seemed fully confident that they’d find a way to get into the playoffs. There was a sense of reinforcements on the way, and a belief that these guys could win when it really mattered.
What stood out about Andy Pettitte’s postgame interview tonight was that any sense of confidence seemed to have been replaced by little more than desperate hope.
“We were right there,” Pettitte told YES Network. “We had a good shot at it. We played bad, and we put ourselves in a horrible position. … It’s frustrating. We’ve got to win. It’s not good, that’s for sure. Go to Boston and get swept, then lose the first game here. We’re playing terrible, and it’s not good. It’s a bad time to be doing that.”
Pettitte did his part. He’s pitched very well down the stretch, but the Yankees had no answers for R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball.
“If we pitch, we gotta score some runs. If we score some runs, we’ve got to pitch,” Pettitte said. “It seems like we haven’t been doing a lot of mixing and matching them together.”
Such a disappointing performance in such a critical game, is there really a sense of urgency with this team?
“I hope so,” Pettitte said. “Obviously when you go and you get shutout, it maybe doesn’t look like it, but if there’s not with some of these guys they’re playing the wrong sport, and they’re definitely in the wrong organization. So, I’m sure there is. We’ve just got to find a way to get a win. We’ve got to win some ballgames. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come out and play, and play well.”
• The Yankees had beaten R.A. Dickey twice this year, but after a couple of blown opportunities early in the game — both scoring opportunities started with two outs — the Yankees offense went silent. “Dickey’s the hardest guy probably in this league to predict what your offense is going to do off him,” Joe Girardi said. “You just never know with a knuckleballer. … You can foul off more pitches, I guess. It seemed like we got a little aggressive, but it’s an at-bat you just don’t see every day. If a guy gets a good knuckleball, I think they’re more aggressive in a sense. Those are hard to predict which ones are going to be the good ones.”
• After the game, Alex Rodriguez had his right calf wrapped and said he’s just trying to stay in the lineup, making it seem unlikely we’ll see him at third base tomorrow. That’s really not a big surprise at this point, but Rodriguez had been hoping to play the field in Toronto before the calf situation popped up.
• Girardi on the decision to pull Pettitte in the seventh: “You can’t ask any more out of him. He was on fumes out there in the seventh inning. He gets two big outs for us in that inning and you can’t ask him to do any more.”
• And the fact Girardi went to Shawn Kelley and Dave Robertson with the Yankees trailing said a lot about their currently situation. “You need one guy to get on and one guy to hit a homer,” Girardi said. “… You’re just trying to hold down the fort.”
• Pettitte said he made a “terrible mistake” on his home run pitch to Colby Rasmus. “Just an idiot,” Pettitte said. “Trying to bounce a cutter on top of the plate trying to see if I could get him to swing. Just stupid. Bad thought process. Just a bad idea.”
• That was some throw from Brendan Ryan to get the Yankees out of that eighth-inning jam. Have to wonder if the Yankees might have interest in bringing him back next season. Could be a strong defensive option at shortstop if Derek Jeter can’t play the position or Eduardo Nunez doesn’t seem up to the task.
• Final word goes to Alfonso Soriano: “We’re in it because we’re only like two or three games behind with 11 games left. It depends on us. If we want to play hard and we’re going to keep grinding, we can do it. But it’s going to depend on us. Work hard and play tomorrow with more energy, and do the little things that we didn’t do tonight. But like I said, it depends on us. It’s 11 games and if we have a good run, we’re in. If not, we go home.”
Associated Press photo