Damon: Indians up to challenge
Motivation of facing Yankees contributed to Game 1 outcome
A veteran of eight postseason series, Johnny Damon got his first taste of what they are like in a Yankees uniform in 2006, as New York went down in four games to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.
It wasn't the outcome he was expecting, and the 33-year-old outfielder is hoping for better stories to tell after the Yankees complete their run this October. The Yankees dropped the first game of the ALDS on Thursday, suffering a 12-3 defeat to the Indians at Jacobs Field.
Throughout the 2007 postseason, Damon will take part in a Q&A with MLB.com, sharing his thoughts after every Yankees game. On Thursday, Damon responded to Chien-Ming Wang's performance against the Indians, his leadoff home run off C.C. Sabathia and the team's mind-set going forward.
What was your perspective on the first-inning home run off Sabathia? What did you see and hear?
I saw it go fair. I watched it pass the foul pole, and it was definitely fair. I just kept running the bases, because no matter how the run was going to be, I was going to be at home plate again, so I made sure I rounded the bases. In that situation, you just hope that they got it right, and they actually did. I'm not sure what was tough to see -- maybe the umpire [Jim Wolf] was a little too close to the fair pole in that situation. But they ended up getting it right, and unfortunately, it didn't help out our team.
Did some of the wind seem to come out of the Yankees' sails in the first inning, when Wang gave up the three runs?
Any time you score runs and you give it right back, it doesn't really feel too good. It would be good if we could go in and shut them out 1-2-3 and get our offense rolling again, but when you have Sabathia, you're in a tough situation.
How about the Indians and how they came out against you in the opener?
I think "Wanger" [Chien-Ming Wang] got the ball up a little bit today. They have some very good players over there. Kenny Lofton has been in the postseason, it seems like every year of his career. Grady Sizemore is probably one of the best players in the league and Travis Hafner is probably one of the best pure hitters in the league. They have other guys they can mix in who are decent players, and they're excited about the opportunity to play the Yankees. They definitely took advantage of this first game.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.