The Yankees' ALDS comeback recipe: one part faith, one part resilience, and one part fight
CLEVELAND - The improbable comeback is complete, and the Yankees are officially the eighth team in the Division Series era to be down 0-2 and come back to win three straight to claim a series.
Strong pitching was a hallmark of all three wins over the Indians, and the offense got the job done in three different ways - with one big swing in Game 3, by taking advantage of mistakes in Game 4, and using a little bit of both in Game 5 - but the biggest key to the comeback was one five-letter word: faith.
Even down 0-2, even after manager Joe Girardi's non-challenge in Game 2 became the most maligned moment of the series, the Yankees never stopped believing, and never lost the faith that they could do the seemingly improbable.
How did they do it? Well, don't take our word for it, take theirs with these quotes straight from the Yankees' mouths in post-Game 5 interviews performed by YES and FOX Sports.
GREG BIRD: "We have a great group, a great mix of youth and veterans in our clubhouse, and we pick each other up. Our thing is just to go out and do our jobs, and pass the baton on to the next guy."
TODD FRAZIER: "We just told ourselves to keep fighting. Not many teams have done this, but we just had to play one game at a time. This team is so resilient. We have the pieces to do it, and today showed it. Who thought we would win three straight? The resilience and determination, guys knowing it's not over until that last out…this group has it."
BRETT GARDNER: "(The Indians) may have been the best team in baseball all year long. We went back home down 0-2, but we love playing for our fans, and we felt good about Tanaka and Severino in Games 3 and 4. We brought it back here, and tonight, we took an early lead and got it done."
DIDI GREGORIUS: "The one thing for us is that anyone can be the big hero in any game. From top to bottom, everybody does their job, and we're not relying on just one guy."
AARON HICKS: "We're just a team that's going to fight. We've been fighting since Day 1 to prove we're a great team, and we're a family that grinds it out every single day. When we went back home, we really just wanted to win one game to gain some momentum, and then win another and bring it back here. We believed in ourselves, we were able to do it, and now we're here."
AARON JUDGE: "We just kept trying to play our game. We have a lot of faith; we've lost a couple games in a row before but we always bounced back, and we were able to do it again. The most important thing is keep winning, and we picked each other up to do it."
DAVID ROBERTSON: "When we got back to New York, Joe told us to take it one game at a time, and that's what we did. We won Game 3, we won Game 4, and then we came back here, in front of a tough crowd against a great pitcher in Kluber, and we grinded it out and got the win."
CC SABATHIA: "Our mantra was just keep playing. This team has battled all year, and it was just our time. This is a close knit team that pulls for each other, and I think that goes a long way."
JOE GIRARDI: "This is just the fight in our club. Game 3, we a 1-0 game where Tanaka throws a tremendous game and Greg Bird hits a homer off Andrew Miller, who doesn't give them up. We come back the next day, and Sevy pitches a good game and we win. And then today, I just look at our at-bats…there's just a ton of fight in this club. It's a great mixture of youth and veteran players that are leading the way, and it's hard to believe, because we just beat a really, really good team."