Off-day interview with Joe Torre
Yanks skipper discusses the ALDS against the Indians
You've been through this 0-2 deficit before and to come back. What do you tell some of the younger guys on this team to keep them loose for tomorrow night?
JOE TORRE: Well, we've been trying to keep everybody loose, but unfortunately the Cleveland pitchers have been tightening them up pretty good. The only thing you have to concentrate on now is winning tomorrow. I mean, we need to win one game just to get the momentum switched around a little bit. And Roger, of course, is certainly capable. And he feels good, we feel good about him.
We didn't take batting practice today, because we've been hitting for three days and, you know, we'll hit tomorrow and all that stuff. We just decided to bag it for today. We just have to go out and win a game. The thing about coming back down 0 2, obviously, you have to win all three games. But if you think that way, it becomes a real huge task. But the fact that we've been inside this foxhole before this year, so it's something that, I don't want to say comfortable, but we've done this before.
Do you think being back in your home ballpark will just help your hitters in general?
JOE TORRE: Well, usually that stuff certainly pays off. We're used to it here. We like it here. We've played well here. And, as I say, we're certainly capable. We feel good about ourselves. We've been frustrated these last couple of days. I mean, Andy pitched a spectacular game yesterday, and some screwy things happened. But we still need to get more than three hits. We certainly know that. But being at home where these fans have been so good for us and to us, and everything else, we certainly look forward to tomorrow.
Roger mentioned while he was driving in today looking up at the side of the stadium and seeing 2000 and thinking, boy, it's been a long seven years. An awful lot at stake here when you play your last game, whether that be tomorrow or in three weeks, whatever. Do you even give that any sort of thought? Does that run through your mind as you're driving out or falling asleep or anything?
JOE TORRE: Not unless it says Game 5 on it, no. Then that could be it. But again, this game, you know, I've been in it all my life. The fact of the matter is you just bury yourself in it. When you look up when it's all over with, you see where you are and what you've accomplished and what you didn't accomplish, and what you're sorry about, and what you're happy about, and then you evaluate. But we have a lot of work to do.
As I say, my job is to have these guys concentrate on tomorrow and not look beyond that, because we can only control what we're in the process of doing.
You've mentioned how Roger is physically ready. Do you think just with the layoff, do you think his command is going to be an issue early on?
JOE TORRE: I really don't think so. Again, Roger usually takes him two or three mounds to come in contact with the rubber because he gets so pumped up all the time. But I really don't think so. For those people that haven't heard me talk about this, between starts, and I witnessed it a couple of different times, he goes down there and works himself like he's in a game. It's like he's in a rotation, even though he hasn't pitched for X number of days. He just puts himself, and psyches himself, and has hitters up there even though they're not swinging the bat, it's just a matter of working both sides of the plate and using all his pitches. Last time I did it was in Toronto, and I was pretty much in awe of what he was doing, because he was sort of talking to himself knowing situations. I don't think that will be an issue.
I think the issue early on if he lacks a little command, I think it will just be the fact that he'll be pumped up more so than rusty.
What did you see from Alex at the plate?
JOE TORRE: Well, put Alex in the group with everybody else. I don't think it's fair to single him out. We got three hits. We scored, what, four runs in two games and three of them were home runs. So we certainly need to do a better job of doing what we've been doing most of the year.
But Alex, again, he gets up there in situations. Sometimes they're not going to pitch to him, sometimes they have to pitch to him, and they're making pretty good pitches on him. He's fouling off his pitch and stuff like that. I think everybody is trying a little bit too hard. So hopefully, we'll come back here tomorrow and have a little fun with it.
Because of the hamstring and the layoff, do you have to have somebody ready down there in case Roger doesn't have it right away?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, well everybody's on deck tomorrow, obviously. Hughes will be ready to go, you know, if we need to. As I say, tomorrow is the game where we need to win to get to the next thing. So Moose hasn't pitched, so he certainly would be available for us, as he was last night, if we had gone probably another chapter in that game. We probably would have come with Moose. So we do have some people that are ready, though I'm confident that Roger's demeanor right now is not hinting of anything question mark wise.
Are you giving any thought to switching up the lineup at all?
JOE TORRE: I am. You've been reading my mind. But again, I'm not sure where. We're thinking maybe possibly Jason. We'll look and see what we're going to do. We'll look at match ups and stuff. But we'll probably shake it up a little bit.
Have you decided who is going to pitch Game 4? Is it going to be Wang? I'd like to know. Because last season you were up against that idea.
JOE TORRE: You'd like to know, I'd like to know, too. We haven't committed to that one based on we need to win Game 3, and then we'll work on Game 4. Wang right now will probably in the next half hour be throwing the side out there in the bullpen. But we'll see.
Obviously, we're going to wait until after tomorrow to name a Game 4 starter, because we have to make sure we have everybody available tomorrow. And Wang won't be available tomorrow. We'll have everybody else.
Are you thinking about Giambi as DH or first base?
JOE TORRE: I don't know. I'm just thinking about getting his bat in there and the fact of what he brings to the table. Just because he hasn't played, doesn't mean we necessarily ignore what he can do for us. But I think just the fact that we've been struggling a little bit offensively, you may want to just either first base or DH, we'll see.
Is it almost symmetrical to the whole season? You're in an 0 2 hole facing elimination. You had to come back early in the season, you were 21 29, you were struggling. Nothing has come easy to this ballclub this year.
JOE TORRE: That's what I said to some of them last night. We're familiar with this spot. It was nice to brag that we're on level ground when everything was over with. We're back into, "they've got us where we want them," I guess. You know, hopefully that's the case. But we certainly need to find out what we're made of, and we certainly need to, you know, we can't take time to feel sorry for ourselves. We've worked too hard to get here and to be one of the select teams in the postseason, and we have to make the most of it.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.