The Yankees are headed to Houston and so is manager Joe Girardi. Just a few days past the worst managerial day of his life, Girardi and his team will look back at Game 2. That is now, as they say, a distant memory because Girardi may have earned another contract after this five game series win over the Indians and trip to the ALCS.
As Girardi said, the burden of that loss Friday night carried into the next game. The manager learned from that mistake and now we are talking about the overachieving Yankees, a wild card team that has earned a right to the next round.
“I met with the club and and talked about winning one game,” Girardi said. “ I believed in them when we left spring training and I believe in them now. We never quit. Continue to have your back and win one game.”
That was Girardi’s message to his team going into Game 3. They responded taking the next two in the Bronx. The Indians and their manager, Terry Francona have to face the music losing three straight for the first time since July 30th.
The Yankees, as a group saw the mistakes by their manager as a bad day in the office. So all is forgiven and there is more baseball to be played in October.
And they took it one elimination game at a time, four of them in fact that culminated with this improbable five-game series win over an Indians team that won 102 games. The team has picked up the manager and that momentum which is so important in October is bound to carry on that flight to Houston.
It’s about picking up Aaron Judge who played no impact in the ALDS. It is more than Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird, the other “Baby Bombers” who had a minimal impact. It was Luis Severino, one of those maturing Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman.
And it was about Didi Gregorius, Todd Frazier, and Brett Gardner who had that great 12-pitch at bat that led to the insurance runs they needed in the 9th inning.
So what does this all mean? Everything right now for overtaking the Indians in five games. But always with the Yankees, it means nothing unless they get to and win another World Series. And since that July trade deadline of moves, which always seems to be a good formula for the GM Brian Cashman, the Yankees felt that momentum to get them here.
Robertson and Frazier never figured in this equation, but Cashman did his wheeling and dealing. It was supposed to be the rebuilding year and the “Baby Bombers” maturing, but that rebuilding stage was quicker than expected.
Gone are the first place Red Sox from this postseason and the Yankees could have had first to themselves but a few misses got in their way. It does not matter now because the wild card teams, as the Yankees are proving, seem to get what they want.
That one game elimination game is do-or-die and the Yankees have played that type of baseball since that win over the Twins last Tuesday night in the Bronx and the Indians saw that. Remember it was only a few years ago when those San Francisco Giants built a dynasty from that Wild Card game.
That eruption you heard late Wednesday night from the East side to the West side is how this NY Yankees team has overachieved. This series with the Indians was a test and now it’s off to Houston and the ALCS in the best-of-seven series.
Joe Girardi got it all right. And the way this is going, the Yankees are destined to head to their first World Series since 2009.