|Pettitte kept the Yankees in the ballgame, writes Stanton.
Throughout the playoffs, Yankees reliever Mike Stanton will continue his exclusive "First Person" daily diary with Mark Feinsand of Yankees.com and MLB.com. The teams played Game 5 of the best-of-seven series Monday in New York, with the Yankees winning 12-3 to clinch the American League title.
Monday, Oct. 22 -- Pregame
We really try not to look past a game like this to the World Series. Like I said last night, Lou is going to have these guys ready. If we can get Andy Pettitte a couple of runs early, get him in the driver's seat, we'll be in good shape. We're going to have to play them tough -- they're not going to lay down. We still need our "A-game."
When you win a late-inning game like last night, there is an adrenaline rush that doesn't go away very quickly. There was a little lingering effect when I left the ballpark last night, and it's hard to go to sleep as soon as you'd like to. It was a great win yesterday, especially considering how many chances we didn't capitalize on early. At one point, you think you've had all the chances you're going to get -- especially against a bullpen like Seattle's. There was a little bit of luck involved in getting a win like we did in Game 4.
There's a big adrenaline rush. When Bret Boone hits his home run in the eighth, it's real hard not to get down. But the tenacity of this team is one of its strong points, and we got a couple of pitches that we could drive -- and we did.
My approach is to pitch every day, so I am ready to pitch today. Ramiro went three innings yesterday, but this is the playoffs -- we have all winter to rest. I'm sure if we really need Mendoza, he'll be able to give us something tonight.
We have tremendous confidence with Andy on the mound, but we have that with every one of our starters that we send out there. We basically have four aces. Four aces will beat just about every other hand.
Winning this series tonight is important for us, because you don't want to add the travel into the equation. It's also important because we have momentum now, and we have to build on that and keep pushing. If we give Andy some runs early, I don't want to say that Seattle will fold, but we'll have them on the ropes and then we can put them away.
The Yankees clinched their 38th pennant on Monday, defeating the Mariners 12-3 in Game 5. Andy Pettitte threw 6 1/3 innings, winning his second game of the ALCS and the series MVP award. In the midst of a jubilant clubhouse celebration, Stanton reflected on the game, the series, and looked ahead to facing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, which begins Saturday at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.
Monday, Oct. 22 -- Postgame
Our key was Andy. He kept us in the ballgame, threw the ball extremely well and kept us in the game when Sele was throwing well. We got a few breaks with some defensive miscues and then capitalized with a couple of clutch hits. Andy's only downfall was that he sat in the dugout for a long time in the bottom of the sixth. Pitchers love to have runs scored for them, but they like to have them scored quickly so you can get back out there and keep on a roll. He absolutely deserved the MVP award.
We had them on the ropes when Bernie Williams hit his home run, making it 4-0, but we couldn't let up. That's a great ballclub over there, and Lou Piniella wouldn't let them die. Even in the ninth inning, they're down 12-3 and still taking pitches and running balls out. Even though they came up a little short, they still had an incredible season, a record-breaking season, and you have to tip your hat to them.
At 9-0, our score was the same as the Giants' lead over the Eagles at halftime at the Meadowlands. They put the football score on the board, and I noticed that. When the Mariners scored their three runs, I joked to someone that the Seahawks kicked a field goal.
You sense the end with a lead like that, but you have to guard against letting up. You have to keep pushing until every out is made, because those guys over there are going to do the same. The celebration starts when the last out is made, it doesn't start with 26 outs.
When Mariano Rivera comes into the game with a nine-run lead, we knew we had a pretty good chance. Luckily we didn't need him for more than one inning tonight.
You have a bunch of guys in Arizona that have been to the playoffs before, so the length of time the team has been around doesn't make a difference. They have a great 1-2 punch, and their No. 3 guy had a pretty good year for himself too. We still have our work cut out for us, and we're going to have to throw up a bunch of zeroes on the scoreboard ourselves.
We're very confident, but we really don't know much about the Diamondbacks. We know about Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, but other than that, we haven't gone over any scouting reports. We had our hands full of Seattle.
This has given the people of New York something to cheer about, something to look forward to. They've been wild ever since Game 5 against Oakland. "No Game 6", "Sayonara" and "Jeff Nelson", then they had that new "Jorge" thing they did when he came to bat. They were riled up tonight, which was great to see. We gave them something to cheer about and hopefully it can continue.
We'll have a couple of off-days before we go out there, so we're going to relax and start thinking about Arizona.
Other than winning the World Series, this ranks up with our greatest moments. We were underdogs in both the Oakland and Seattle series, and that's something we haven't done before. We had never been in that situation, then we were down 0-2, there were a lot of new things that we had to go through this postseason, which makes it a little sweeter.
At least the flight to Arizona isn't quite as far as the first two. But for the World Series, I think the flights will be just fine for us.
Stay with Worldseries.com and Yankees.com throughout the World Series, as Mike Stanton will continue his daily diary. Mark Feinsand is the site reporter for Yankees.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.