10/18/2004 10:31 PM ET
Sheffield Q&A: Game 5, ALCS
Yankees outfielder says team can't look back
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Gary Sheffield went 0-for-4 with three walks in the Game 5 loss. (Jim Rogash/AP)
BOSTON -- Gary Sheffield and the Yankees were victimized by another stunning Red Sox comeback on Monday, dropping a 5-4 decision in 14 innings of Game 5 in the American League Championship Series.
Sheffield went 0-for-4 with three walks, but he wasn't able to score a single run, as both teams clamped down until David Ortiz's walk-off RBI single sent the series back to the Bronx.
New York will try to wrap up its 40th AL pennant on Tuesday, as Jon Lieber takes on Curt Schilling in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium.
After Game 5, Sheffield spoke with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand about the disappointment of losing the last two games, the surprising performance of the Yankees' bullpen and what to expect in Game 6.
MLB.com: Have you ever been a part of back-to-back games quite like Games 4 and 5?
Sheffield: Not at all. A lot of times, in a situation like this, the other ballclub is fighting for their lives. Those guys put some quality at-bats together and were able to close the game out.
MLB.com: Do you look at a game like this as just a bunch of missed opportunities?
Sheffield: Right now, you can't look too far back. We have to move on, keep going forward and look at the next game. We can't let ourselves get caught up in what happened.
MLB.com: When Derek Jeter puts you ahead with his three-run double, then you're just six outs from the World Series, are you thinking that this can't possibly collapse for a second straight night?
Sheffield: No, we were just thinking about getting one out at a time. We wanted to keep guys off base, not let them get a big inning or let them get back in the game. It just didn't happen for us.
MLB.com: How surprising is it to see your bullpen blow a late lead again?
Sheffield: We're always surprised when they give up anything. They're the reason we're here, and any time we have a lead, I'll give the ball to those guys any day.
MLB.com: Esteban Loaiza gave you a solid outing before giving up the game-winner in the 14th. Given his rough season, how important was that?
Sheffield: I was thinking how great it would be if we could put a run on the board for him and give him the victory that gets us to the World Series. That would have been a great situation for him, but we'll get it done.
MLB.com: When Ortiz comes up to the plate in the 14th, what's going through your mind? Not again?
Sheffield: The way Loaiza was pitching, I didn't think he would hit one out of the yard. Guys weren't taking comfortable swings off Esteban, but Ortiz is one of the greatest hitters in the game. There's a reason for that.
MLB.com: Is it an advantage for you to be going back to your home ballpark now?
Sheffield: I don't know if it's an advantage or not when you're in a situation like this. We played the way we wanted to play here, put ourselves a couple of outs from winning. We've played the way we wanted to play, we just came up short.
MLB.com: After the last two days, is the pressure on you or them now?
Sheffield: It's not pressure on either side, we just have to keep it in perspective. We only have to win one more game. We've made mistakes, but in the position we're in, we could. They can't make any.
MLB.com: You played 26 innings and almost 11 hours in the last 24 hours or so. How do you get by being fatigued for Game 6?
Sheffield: Adrenaline carries you at this time of year. That's what you play all your life for, to get to the World Series. No matter how many innings we've played, we'll be ready.
MLB.com: Jon Lieber went home before the game so he could rest up in case he had to pitch on Tuesday. What are you expecting from him?
Sheffield: I'm just glad somebody will be getting some sleep. If he pitches the way he pitched in Game 2, we should be fine.
MLB.com: Given Curt Schilling's ankle injury, do you change your approach against him?
Sheffield: We have no idea what to expect from him, what the status of his leg is. We have to approach it the same as we did in Game 1, take good at-bats and try to put up runs early and often.
MLB.com: How much urgency is there to close this out tomorrow, not let them get the series to a Game 7?
Sheffield: We wanted to close it out here, but some funny things happened. We wanted a sweep, but now we'll focus on winning our next game.
MLB.com: You've talked about watching last year's Yankees-Red Sox ALCS. Now, being a part of it, is it everything you thought it would be?
Sheffield: Man, when I won the World Series with the Marlins in 1997, it was draining. I took two months off after the season to recover. I may have to do it again. You put so much into these games, because it's so hard to get to the World Series, let alone winning it.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.