Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Despite the Yankees down 0-2 in the ALCS, manager Joe Girardi isn't in "panic" mode as the series heads to the Bronx for Game 3.
The Yankees lost two, 2-1 games in Houston after masterful performances from Astros starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. But with the series returning to Yankee Stadium where Girardi's team has had better success all season, he isn't worried that the series is getting away from him.
"We've been through enough this year that there's no panic. There were times during the season where we were 15 games over, and we fell to four games over," Girardi told the NY Daily News' Christian Red. "Obviously, would you rather be 1-1, 2-0 the other way? Yeah. I don't think there's any panic in the room. And they're gonna just go out and do what they do and see where the chips fall."
The players agree with their manager as they have lost close games before, and have bounced back in the past.
"The mood never changes with this team. Just playing baseball, going out one day at a time trying to win a baseball game. It's just how we've been. I look for us to come out (Monday) and play well," said Game 3 starter CC Sabathia. "I felt like we've been righ there in both (ALCS) games. Getting beat (2-1 both times), we're right there. Couple things go our way, we could easily be up 2-0 (in the series)."
The Yankees have been through adversity this postseason as they had to win three straight ALDS games to make it to this series where they find themselves down 0-2 to start again. It hasn't been the starting pitching as Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino both had productive starts. Instead, it is the Yankees' offense that continues to slack, especially with power bats in Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in massive slumps.
Girardi recognizes the struggles of the young hitters, but he is confident they will break out of their slump because they have relied on them all year to get to this point.
"Part of it is the guys they're going against have made a lot of good pitches. Part of it is you can get a little off sometimes," Girardi said. "When I look at Aaron's at-bats, I don't think he hasn't continued to be patient. I think Gary's chased a little bit more. Gary's a guy we know that can really turn it around quick and get locked in. Some of that in part of being young. You don't have 20 at-bats against a guy. I feel good about them. We've counted on 'em all year. We believe in them. I think they're going to come out of it."
Judge and Sanchez are a combined 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts to begin this series, and they aren't the only Yankees who are in a slump. The designated hitter spot -- manned by either Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Matt Holliday -- has been abysmal as they have yet to secure a hit all postseason. They are now 0-for-27 with 10 strikeouts.
Striking out has been a problem with this team all season, but Girardi likes the patience his hitters have had in the postseason.
"We have struck out during the course of the season, too. that's part of who we are right now," Girardi said. "We walk, we're patient, and we hithome runs and we strike ou. We're going to strike out some. I like the patience. I like the grittiness of our hitters. I like how they grind out at-bats. We'll figure it out."
The Yankees need to figure it out if they wish to keep the series alive. Girardi knows what it feels like to be down 0-2 in a critical series as a manager and player having been down in the 1996 World Series with the Braves. He relayed the message his team had back then to his young group now.
"I think when you look at that team, there were a lot of young players that played important roles -- mostly Mariano (Rivera) and Derek (Jeter). Our bullpen was really, really good back then," Girardi explained. "The message then was, 'Go win one game, and let's see where we're at.' That's the same message (now)."
The Yankees went on to win four straight games against the Braves to be crowned World Series champs that year. This year's young corps is hoping for the same result to keep their Cinderella season alive.