(Photo by Getty Images)
A couple of points were driven home tonight; C.C. Sabathia is not Aaron Laffey, and the Yankees aren’t the Royals or Blue Jays.
Still, Eric Wedge urged his team not to be overly discouraged after they had been stymied by Sabathia in a 6-3 defeat that snapped their seven-game winning streak.
“CC was outstanding, as good as I’ve seen him,” said Wedge — who saw Sabathia win a Cy Young Award as Indians manager in 2007. “He had everything working. I think he beats anybody tonight with what he was throwing out there. We park that, put that away and come out here ready to win a ballgame tomorrow.
“Millwood gave us a chance, kept us in the ballgame. I thought he pitched well again. But CC had the two-seamer working, he was cutting the ball, he had a good fastball and he dropped the breaking ball in there for a strike. He’d drop it in there short when he was ahead in the count for strikeout pitches and when he wanted to, he mixed in his changeup. It was just one of those days.”
Asked if he conveyed that message to his team, Wedge said, “I’ve already done that. Hey, you’ve got to recognize our guys have been playing good baseball. And they played good baseball tonight. That guy was just real good. And there’s going to be games like that. That’s all it is.”
There was lots of talk after the game about the two-run homer (shown above) by Eric Chavez in the sixth that turned a 2-1 Yankee lead into 4-1 — a death knell, the way Sabathia was pitching. Everyone agreed that right fielder Eric Thames got messed up by a fan as he leapt to catch the ball. Casper Wells, who grew up a Yankee fan in upstate New York, even invoked the name of Jeffrey Maier (and if you add an “r” and an “n” to his last name, it becomes “Mariner”). But many replays apparently were inconclusive about whether the fan was actually in the field of play. If the ball is over the fence already, it’s fair game, I guess.
Here’s Thames: “I knew it was going to be right at the wall. I felt I had a good bead on it, I jumped and it was weird, it happened so fast. I saw the gloves kind of going over me and I felt it hit the wall. Then I saw the replay and a fan’s glove was right over me and it deflected. But that’s part of the game. It’s just bad luck. Nothing you can do but fight through that. It came at a bad part of the game. I was fired up because that would have ended the inning and would have been a huge thing for Kevin to keep the club in the ballgame.”
Would he have caught it? “For sure.”
“It’s tough on home run balls like that in parks like this because the fans are so close. They all reach out when it’s close t othe wall and you’ve just got to fight through them and hang with it.
“It hit his (glove), then it hit mine. A game of inches.”
Asked if he thought it was interference, Thames said, “It’s one of those things … I don’t know. I’m more caught up on the fact we lost. What happened is part of the game. It’s not like he reached out and blocked me. We just have to come back tomorrow. If we win tomorrow, we can win the series. That’s the next goal.”
Here’s what Wedge had to say: “I think he thought he had a chance to get it. When he went back over, it hit that kid’s glove. He was back over the fence, so nothing we can do about it. It was a great effort by him, it was just one of those home runs you get in this park.”
And Kevin Millwood:” I didn’t know how good a shot he had at it, until I saw a replay in here. Without the fan, I think he catches it. But he didn’t.”
Was it interference? “I don’t know, it might have been over the wall, or it might have hit the top of the wall. You watch that replay and it’s still too tough to call. Without the fan, I think he makes a great play, but…good fan.”
And Wells: “It looked like it was in his glove, and there was a fan there. I thought he was going to catch it. He jumped up and he got enough height, it looked like. I guess that’s what fans are supposed to do, try to knock it out of his glove. That’s what it looked like to me. Kind of like the Orioles playoff game with the Yankees. I remember that one. I grew up as a Yankees fan.”