(Photo courtesy of The AP)
Last night's win was big for the Yankees. Let's not try to pretend it wasn't. Sure they've all but locked up a postseason berth, but this team expects better; they expect to win the division. And the quality baseball they had been playing over the last 10-14 days was not championship-caliber baseball, so to jump out to a big lead on the road early and then scrap back to tie and re-take the lead in the late innings is big.
But bigger than winning the game was the emotion the Yankees showed last night throughout the affair. Everyone was into the game and focused from the first pitch, and the emotion built up as the game continued on. You had guys jumping around for A-Rod and Cano's homers early. You had Dave Robertson practically losing his shit after Granderson made that great catch in the 9th. You had Swish freaking out over Jorge's go-ahead homer to the point that the casual fan may have thought Jorge broke some kind of record. You had Jorge almost separating his shoulder with an agitated fist pump after Jeter couldn't hold onto the ball on Crawford's steal attempt. And after the indescribably awesome Golson-to-The Horse DP to end the game, you had the entire team celebrating like they had just won a playoff game. Shit, even Mo was fired up and you only see him show emotion when he closes out the World Series.
Regardless of the outcome, the Yankees were in it to win it last night. There had been a noticeable lack of emotion over this recent weak stretch, so to see them come out last night with playoff intensity was a good thing. And to have that energy and focus and emotion rewarded with an extra-innings victory, well that's the kind of stuff that can propel a team and motivate them moving forward. They're still banged up, they still have questions in the bullpen, and they still have more questions in the rotation, but last night the Yankees may have just gotten their swagger back. If they can come out later tonight and thrash James Shields, we'll know for sure.
P.S.- How much did Greg Golson help his playoff roster chances last night? 100%? 500%? 1,000%?