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ALCS Game 5 Reactions: Hope Still Alive

After Tuesday night’s Game 4 loss to the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees fans were searching for answers. On Thursday morning, after a Game 5 victory, Pinstripe nation can still cling onto hope.

Here are your morning reactions as the Yankees closed within a game of the Rangers, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series, which continues Friday night at 8 p.m. on TBS. (To read the full articles click on the links.) writer Ken Davidoff says after the Game 5 victory fans can’t question the Yankees character:

“Maybe Joe Girardi deserves credit for holding a quick meeting early Wednesday morning, when the Yankees seemed deader than disco.”

“Perhaps top billing goes to C.C. Sabathia, who bent like a congressman but never cracked, giving his team the starting pitching performance it needed so badly.”

“And let’s not forget the Rangers, who contributed to the game’s key sequence by recreating the ‘Look at how bad these guys are while Roy Hobbs sits on the bench’ montage from ‘The Natural.’”

“Choose your motivation and motivator, but know this: By prevailing, 7-2, over the Rangers in the American League Championship Series Game 5 Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, the defending World Series champions silenced the doubts about their character.”

ESPN baseball guru Buster Olney was asked on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike In The Morning, did the Yankees win in Game 5 change anything in the series?

“The mindset certainly changed. And, so many of the players were talking after the game about how Joe Giardi had a well timed meeting after Game 4. It was a very brief meeting where he said, ‘Hey, you guys are a great team. How many times did we lose three straight games during the regular season? Narrow your focus and just do what you do, be aggressive and win yourself a ball game.’ They looked a lot better and clearly the runs they put up in the second inning, and crazy trip around the bases by Jorge Posada really seemed to lighten the mood in the clubhouse… You can sense this is a team with a lot of veterans with their backs against the wall and they felt really good coming out of that win. It would not surprise me if they pushed this to a Game 7.” writer Ian O’Connor spotlights C.C. Sabathia’s 2008-’09 recruitment and his Game 5 performance:

“So there was Sabathia on the mound in Game 5, inspired to pay back his teammates in an extra-large way. In was CC’s turn to deliver the bail-out package, and this time around there would be no excuses, not with Sabathia going on regular rest.”

“He stood tall on the Yankee Stadium mound, all 6 feet, 7 inches and 300 pounds of him. Even if he wouldn’t admit it, and even if Cliff Lee qualifies as his BFF, Sabathia had to be sick and tired of the never-ending conversation about Lee’s otherworldly skill.”

“CC did something about it. He protected the early 5-0 lead the Yankees game him, held the Rangers to two runs over six innings despite surrendering 11 hits and sent the ALCS barreling back to Texas, where the Yanks will have a Game 6 mountain to climb just to take their place in Lee’s rarefied air.”

New York Daily News writer John Harper comments on Robinson Cano’s filthy play in the ALCS:

“If the Yankees are going to come all the way back, it’s going to be up to the bats to set the tone against Colby Lewis in Game 6 and then find a way to scratch out some runs against Cliff Lee…”

“…The big difference is Robinson Cano moving to Teixeira’s No. 3 spot, and Cano responded with a solo home run Wednesday…”

“…In many ways, then, this appears to be Cano’s time, putting together a big postseason on the heels of a season that made him a legitimate MVP candidate.”

NY Daily News sports writer Sean Brennan thinks Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher’s pants had something to do with the Game 5 victory.

“When you are batting .067, you’ll try anything to change your luck.”

“For Nick Swisher Wednesday, the key might have been the alterations to his pants, as he caved in to both Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, who urged him to go with the high-sock look Wednesday…”

“…The Yankees might make it mandatory dress for Swisher for Game 6 Friday night, as he responed with a homer while also walking and scoring another run as the Yankees survived with a 7-2 victory at the Stadium.”

YES announcer Ken Singleton joined ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike In The Morning on Thursday. He was asked about the Yankees Game 6 starting pitcher, Phil Hughes, and if he will bounce back from his Game 2 start in Texas:

“Until he gets to the bullpen and starts to warm up (for Game 6), maybe, he will be thinking about it (his Game 2 start). But he needs to put that behind him. I think that everybody needs to bounce back from a rough game. What happens in baseball is it’s primarily an everyday game. So, he quickly has to put aside the wins and the losses. Particularly the losses. I think Mariano Rivera said it best, particularly with closers, you have to have a very, very short memory. Whether it’s good or bad with things that have happened to you on the field. I think that Phil Hughes, once he starts warming up, it’s a new day and he has to get the job done.” Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch sums it up best:

“The Rangers had been a perfect 5-0 on the road this postseason, but the Yankees put an end to that, scurrying off to the airport with a sense of accomplishment. They still must win out to advance, including toppling Cliff Lee in a potential Game 7, but just getting to the runway was enough for now.”

“‘We had a great attitude,’” Swisher said. “‘Guys came in, everyone was wearing their suits and it wasn’t time for us to end this thing. Especially at home, that’s the last thing we wanted to happen, ending this here.’”