Throughout the ALCS, Yankees reliever Mike Stanton will continue his exclusive "First Person" daily diary with Mark Feinsand of Yankees.com and MLB.com. The teams opened up the best-of-seven series Wednesday in Seattle.
Wednesday, October 17 -- Pregame
We came in right after Game 5 on Monday night, flew all night long and checked into our hotel at about 5:30 a.m. Seattle time. It was a long night, but an enjoyable one.
The plane ride was subdued, I think everyone was tired after three cross-country flights in a row, but everyone was satisfied with the results. We had a good day off, got some rest last night and now we are feeling pretty good.
Even though the last series was so tough, we're coming in confident for this series, knowing there is another good ballclub on the other side. We'll need to bring our "A game" to beat this team.
The last few games of the last series were a little stressful. One of the things we will have to protect against is a letdown. Since these games aren't do-or-die, we have to protect against becoming complacent. I think we're confident coming into this one.
Last night, I tried to stay awake. I talked to my wife last night at about 7:00 p.m., and I told her I was ready to go to bed. But if I did that, I would have been up at 3:00 a.m., so I stayed up until 10:30 and at least made it to daylight before I got up.
The time changes don't really matter, because your days all revolve around whatever time the ballgame is, so you adjust accordingly. Once you get to the ballpark, your program stays the same. We try to stay inside our comfort zone, stay in our program and change as little as possible.
I think these teams match up very well. Both teams rely on starting pitching and timely hitting. In order for us to beat these guys, we'll have to do just that -- get good starting pitching and scratch out a few runs for them early.
Even though we beat Seattle last year in the ALCS, it all starts over with a clean slate. Individually, you may feel better against one guy than another, but for the most part, you start fresh and do the same thing you have done before. We'll try to put quality at-bats together and make quality pitches. If we can do that, good things will happen.
The Yankees took the ALCS opener, defeating the Seattle Mariners 4-2 at Safeco Field. Andy Pettitte threw eight innings of one-run ball, while Paul O'Neill hit a big two-run home run. Mariano Rivera notched his 22nd career postseason save, finishing the game for New York, who takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Wednesday, October 17 -- Postgame
You want to get off to a good start in every series, and we did. Andy was outstanding today, he had great control of his breaking pitches, he moved the ball around. It was classic Andy.
One thing I've always said is that if we can get a couple of runs early, we'll watch our starters go. You let Andy smell victory, he'll just go out there and before you know it, it's the seventh or eighth inning. That's what happened today.
He had control of both his curveball and his slider, threw some fastballs and sinkers away to right-handers that crossed them up. The key for him is to move the ball around, get a guy looking for a fastball inside and then he throws his cutter down, and they just can't lay off that one.
There was no benefit to let him try for the complete game, it was Mo time. If you can get Andy out of there without throwing 120 pitches, you do it. It would be one thing without a guy like Mo in the bullpen, but with him, you get him in there to do his thing.
It was also great to see Paulie swing the bat well. It was a great win for us.
It's a very important win, because you can set a precedent. But they have a tough guy going tomorrow in Freddy Garcia. Mike Mussina has been throwing the ball real well, so it should be a very tight, low-scoring game. It's always very big to get that first win under our belts.
We want to give Moose as many runs as we can, because he's not a guy we usually score a whole lot of runs for. If we can get him a few runs in the first couple of innings, it could turn out to be a game very similar to today's game.
I'm looking forward to a nice evening. Luckily, we're not flying across the country again tonight.
Stay with Yankees.com throughout the ALCS, as Mike Stanton will continue his daily diary.
Mark Feinsand is the site reporter for Yankees.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.