Now that is the way to start a post-season run toward what we hope will be a 27th World Series title.
In a 7-2 victory over Minnesota we had: Derek Jeter being, well, Derek Jeter; CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez exorcising some playoff demons; Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher providing huge hits; Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain excelling in relief.
Let's take a tour of the Yankee Universe and see what is being written and said about the Yankees around the Inter-Google this morning.
Of course Derek Jeter was at the center of everything for the Yankees last night. Did you expect anything less from the Captain?
"I think this is the fun time of year," Jeter said. "It's not taking anything away from the regular season, but this is when you like to play as a player. You like to play in the playoffs, in big games. Doesn't mean you're always going to be successful. But you try to treat it like any other game, which can be difficult at times."
"He pulled a home run, didn't he?" Nick Swisher said with a smile. "Just to see the way he is on the field, such a leader. To see him go out there, leading off the game -- base hit again, surprise -- and then hit that home run and tie the game up, I think that was huge. I think that was a big boost for us. I think we all followed him on it."
Alex Rodriguez was huge for the Yankees last night, with a two-out RBI single and a second run-scoring hit. That's a great sign, and a far cry from the A-Rod we have all squirmed watching in previous post-seasons.
It just feels good to contribute and do the little things," Rodriguez said. "That's what we've been trying to talk about all year, so it definitely felt good not trying to do too much and getting a big hit."
Dating back to Game 4 of the 2004 AL Championship Series, Rodriguez had come to bat with 38 runners on base over a span of 61 postseason at-bats. He stranded every one of them, going 0-for-29 with runners on base. And his only RBI during that span came on a solo home run in Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS, with the Yankees trailing the Indians, 6-2.
The numbers were staggering from every angle. From his third at-bat of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS through his second at-bat of Wednesday's game against the Twins, for example, Rodriguez was 8-for-61 (.131) in postseason play, with one RBI. He had 19 strikeouts and was 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Joba Chamberlain is enjoying his return to the bullpen, however brief it may be. From the looks of the way he is throwing the ball when he comes barreling thru the bullpen gate the Yankees are going to enjoy it, too.
"My first postseason, this is what I did," Chamberlain said. "I was in the bullpen. It's nothing different. It didn't really feel any different, which is great. It just felt like another game, and I think that's how we're going to approach it. It's going to take 25 of us to win that, and we all know it.
"That's the greatest thing about my time here -- that I've been put in a lot of situations, and I feel comfortable in a lot of them."
"I'm cool with whatever they give me," Chamberlain said. "This team has been so special that just to be on this team is an honor. You've got to go out and accept your role and embrace it and go from there."
I know you guys were ready to throw Jorge Posada off the George Washington bridge after the two passed balls last night. The second one really bothered me. Not because of the passed ball itself, but because it appeared Posada was non-chalant in retrieving the ball and Minnesota's Joe Mauer took advantage of that to score from third -- a run that never should have crossed the plate.
Here is Posada discussing the two plays.
Both Sabathia and Jorge Posada said the passed balls were because of miscommunication. "The first one was my fault," Posada said. "We were trying go inside with a guy at second base and I thought I called something and it was my fault the first time. The next one, I’m on the mound and I told him what I wanted him to throw, and when I got to the plate he threw a different pitch."
Carl Pavano will pitch Game in Minnesota against the Yankees. If there is one thing I would not be able to stomach this post-season it would be losing a playoff game to Pavano. That can't happen. The American Idle, by the way, got booed in pre-game introductions.
"I was here Opening Day with Cleveland so I got hammered a lot worse (then)," Pavano said. "Hey, I don’t blame them. I’d boo me too after the four years I spent here. No one was more disappointed in the lack of production I had here than me."
You want to know one difference between the Yankees and Twins? When I went searching for stories for this notebook, there are hundreds of Yankee stories from dozens of outlets. As for the Twins, there are maybe two or three outlets writing about them.