MINNEAPOLIS - The Yankees, particularly Johnny Damon, were a little surprised that by the time they started batting practice here at the Metrodome the Red Sox had already been swept by the Los Angeles Angels.
"I was watching the football game (Vikings-Rams) and all of sudden some of the guys were yelling 'Oh, my God' and I went over and I saw the end of the Vlad (Guerrerro) hit. Everybody's like 'Wow can you believe this? You don't see that too often with the Red Sox. Boston is still a good team, but it was the Angels' time."
From all accounts there were no Yankees shouting yippee the Red Sox lost because it now means the Yankees will be playing their nemesis Angels if they beat the Twins. Damon didn't want to jump the gun and declare the Yankees, the Angels their ALCS opponent, but if it were to happen he said, "Definitely better weather in Southern California than in Boston, but it gonna be tough. I'm sure everyone wanted Red Sox-Yankees, but the Angels have a special way they play. They can drive you crazy."
Damon didn't think Papelbon's eighth and ninth inning meltdown will adversely affect the closer going forward.
"He's been very dominant. Pap will be fine," Damon said. "Things just didn't go Boston's way the first two games, but there's no quit in the Angels. We see that when we play them all the time and that's not gonna stop. If we're lucky enough to play them."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi watched the end of the game.
"Two very good teams, close game today," Girardi said before the game. "The Angels got it done late in the game being down 5-1. Yeah we watched it. We are baseball fans and the Angels played extremely well. Our concern is here tonight."