Flaherty Q&A: Yanks' errors 'surprising'
Catcher discusses Game 2 loss, Unit's upcoming start
ANAHEIM -- The Yankees dropped Game 2 of the American League Division Series, 5-3, to the Angels on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, evening the best-of-five series after two games.
Rookie Chien-Ming Wang allowed four runs -- one earned -- over 6 2/3 innings, keeping his team in the game. But two costly errors hurt the Yankees' chances, while John Lackey and the Angels' bullpen did the rest.
Yankees catcher John Flaherty, who will catch Randy Johnson in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Friday, will provide game-by-game analysis for MLB.com throughout the postseason.
Flaherty spoke with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand following the win, discussing Wang, the Yankees' poor fielding and what he expects from the Big Unit on Friday.
MLB.com: There were a lot of questions before the game about how Wang would handle his first career playoff start. What were your impressions of him on Wednesday?
Flaherty: I thought he was outstanding. We had good signs right from the get-go when he got a lot of ground balls and he kept the ball down. The one thing with Wang is that we have to play good defense behind him; we can't give the other team any extra outs, and unfortunately, we did that tonight.
MLB.com: Alex Rodriguez has had such a good season at third base and Wang has been spectacular fielding his position, so were you surprised to see each of them make crucial errors?
Flaherty: It's surprising. I was in the bullpen when Alex made his error, so it was hard for me to see if he lost it or what happened. Wang is such a good fielder, so maybe he thought the ball was bunted a little harder and it checked up on him a little bit. He had a big performance for us, but unfortunately, Lackey threw the ball well and they got two big innings from Kelvim Escobar.
MLB.com: Your team stranded eight runners on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. How tough is it to overcome that with the bullpen the Angels throw at you?
Flaherty: Escobar was the key for them. Scot Shields did his job against one batter, and Escobar came in throwing 95-96 with a good splitter. He's a force to be reckoned with. You don't want to give the ball to K-Rod at the end with a lead.
MLB.com: People always say that a team should be happy with a split on the road, but when you win the first game, you get greedy and want the second win, too. Does this loss give them the momentum going to New York, or is it still with you, having taken away their home-field advantage?
Flaherty: I think if you had asked us coming out here if we would have taken 1-1, we'd have probably taken that going back. We didn't play well enough to win tonight; we didn't play well defensively, and we didn't get the big hit when we needed it. When you look at it that way, it's not a game we were supposed to win. Now we go home with Randy on the mound, so we feel good about our chances.
MLB.com: You have seen a lot of Johnson this season as his personal catcher. What do you expect out of him?
Flaherty: I expect what we've seen down the stretch. Every time we've needed a win, he's answered the call for us. We expect nothing different on Friday night. Hopefully we'll put up some runs against Paul Byrd and let Randy do his thing.
MLB.com: On a personal note, are you excited to start your first postseason game in pinstripes?
Flaherty: Yeah, I am. I think I was thinking a little greedy, that if we had won this one, we'd have had a chance to clinch on Friday. I'm going to focus on Randy and try to treat it like any other game -- which will be hard to do. I'm excited about it and looking forward to it.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.