Work in Sports
State of disarray
Like much of past month, Yankees look for answers
By Jimmy Traina, CNNSI.com
NEW YORK -- Tired bats, dominant pitching, or a combination of both? That was the question being asked after the New York Yankees were shut out in postseason play for the first time since Greg Maddux did it in Game 2 of the 1996 World Series.
Right-hander Freddy Garcia, who struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings while only allowing three hits in Seattle's 2-0 victory, was clearly on top of his game, baffling Yankee batters at every turn.
"He sure as hell pitched well," said Yankee manager Joe Torre. "He had to overcome a couple of situations, especially the one with first and second and the 3-4-5 guys coming up. He certainly pitched well when he had to. He pitched pretty well when he didn't have to."
Jose Paniagua, Arthur Rhodes and Kazuhiro Sasaki contributed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to finish what Garcia started and steal home-field advantage in the best-of-seven ALCS. However, all talk centered on Garcia, who now has a 1.69 ERA in three career starts against New York.
"You hate to say it all the time, but you gotta give him credit," said Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius, who was 0-for-3. "He threw a lot of strikes. He was around the plate, threw his hard sinker down in the zone and had good command of all his pitches."
"He threw hard, was in and out, and had a curve, slider and change-up going," said shortstop Derek Jeter. "He mixed it up pretty good."
The Yankees, who have been struggling at the plate since their September swoon, refused to acknowledge fatigue and their hectic travel schedule -- playing in New York on Saturday, in Oakland on Sunday and back in New York on Tuesday -- as a factor for their futility against Garcia and company.
"You don't have fatigue at this time of year," said Jeter. "You rest in November."
Second baseman Luis Sojo, one of the few Yankees not struggling at the plate, shared those sentiments. "You have to play hard and give 100 percent. If you want to rest, you go home."
Sojo had two hits off Garcia but had nothing but praise for the 24-year-old "He's a good pitcher and tough to hit. He was throwing his fastball 95 and his change up 86, and that's tough. We weren't able to make adjustments."
The Yankees will have to make adjustments quickly, with a quick turnaround for Game 2 at 4 p.m. Wednesday.