10/13/2004 7:38 PM ET
Joe Torre pregame quotes
Manager feels good about pitching
Q. Does Bernie just continue to amaze you with the way year after year he comes through in October no matter what happens before?
JOE TORRE: Bernie is an amazing individual. I mean, he's very unique. He's not blessed with a lot of baseball instincts that a lot of other players are, and yet this time of year, he seems to be very comfortable with who he is.
Yeah, I guess he still amazes me. It doesn't have to only be in post-season but it seems when things are important, he seems to be there all the time.
Q. The four-out save for Mariano last night does that change his availability tonight?
JOE TORRE: We'd like to keep him to one inning if possible but if panic sets in you never know what will happen. He didn't throw a lot of pitches and he had two days off before that. So with a day off tomorrow, I'm sure we could probably do more than one inning.
Q. Could you just give us your thoughts on Kevin pitching in Boston Friday night?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, his last outing wasn't very good. He felt he was ready for the task but when he got to the mound, he didn't have the stuff that he thought he was going to have and started manufacturing and all of a sudden got outside himself.
But he pitched in the Division Series, pitched outstanding, a very important game for us, Game 3.
I'm confident just by the way he's been since that start, and the throwing session he had before that start, it's been pretty consistent as far as how he's felt, and that's usually a pretty good indicator, that not necessarily he's going to win, but that he's going to be okay to go out there and compete.
Q. It was overlooked last night but what does it say about a pitcher's command like Mussina when he can strike out three batters looking in one inning?
JOE TORRE: A lot. That's right. Especially a free-swinging ballclub like their's. In a couple of those instances, he got behind in the count and got them to take strike three. Striking out Johnny Damon, as I mentioned last night, is not easy to do, and you know he was terrific. I don't remember him better other than that near-perfect game he had in Boston a few years ago.
I thought, all right, he gave up a hit, finished the inning, maybe another inning and all of a sudden the roof is starting to cave in. But he certainly is capable.
The thing about pitching now in the big leagues, you either go one way or the other. You can either overpower people or have real command with more than one pitch. Moose has that ability to have the command with actually more than two pitches, and that's what keeps you off-balance.
Q. If you could talk a little bit about Mariano's emotional state of mind after yesterday, in addition to the pitch count and all of that stuff?
JOE TORRE: Mariano seemed fine. I did not see him last night till after the game. He did come in after the eighth inning and sit at the end of the dugout, but as far as being able to talk to him, not until I was out on the field to congratulate him.
He seemed to be happy to be back. Obviously with all of the stresses gone through, I mentioned last night sometimes you get a chance to hide out for a couple of hours from reality and hang out with the guys.
You know, he seemed comfortable last night with his ability to pitch, and with everything that's gone on. I don't think this is going to go away, the stress that he's under because it happened so quickly and so suddenly, the people were young, and you sort of have flashbacks when things like that happen.
But he's tough. He's very tough, and a devoted family man and I know as long as he can be there for Clara, and she's surrounded by support, that he'll continue to -- he'll be here. I mean, he'll be here, and again, as I say, he'll be as tough as anybody I know.
Q. We've heard at great length today about Schilling having a tendon in his ankle that pops in and out of place; you've got Brown with his back; Hernandez with his shoulder; can you talk about October pitching and the compensations that you have to make, and what's the most grotesque thing you've ever seen anybody pitch through?
JOE TORRE: You know, you pitch on fumes. We've had this in the past. You know, we had David Cone before he went out and pitched a World Series game, he got a cortisone shot and we didn't know what to expect. You sort of hold your breath.
Of course last year, we didn't fair too well, we're standing for the National Anthem, all of a sudden I felt Mel tugging on my sleeve after the anthem was over and Mel says, "I don't think that Wells can pitch." Things like that happen. (Laughter.)
You're always surprised, thank goodness, by them, but you have to understand that somebody has to go out there and pitch. So you do what you can.
And again, this time of year, if you ask players on last-place teams if they are tired, they say yes. But teams are in competition and trying to get to the World Series, they try to find a way to get it done.
Q. What do you think about the atmosphere in the stands, and the inevitable chance tonight to get to Pedro; good thing or bad thing or just part of the deal?
JOE TORRE: I just think it's part of the deal. I had a concern yesterday that we feel safe where we are, but the fans, with everything that goes on in both these ballparks, you know, I have a sense that we're safer in the dugouts than the people that are in the stands because of the passion of it all and with the chants, as you say, and sometimes it gets a little foul, which, you know, I don't think anybody is crazy about, and people find that funny.
The only thing that concerns me is that, yeah, it's a baseball game, it's passionate and it's warlike sometimes, but it's such a great rivalry that you certainly don't want it to become ugly. The fans are a big part of making it a wonderful time, but I think it's still our responsibility to let them know that it's let the games go on and not contribute or take away from them.
Q. Speaking of odd things happening to pitchers, any indication that the champagne cork Gordon took in the eye impacted him?
JOE TORRE: I can't answer that. He's fine, he warmed up fine normally. We checked before he came in that regard. I talked to him yesterday and the day before; it's getting better. It's an unfortunate thing that when celebrations go on, it's really tough to try to guard against that.
Certainly, things don't happen on purpose. I remember Hocking a few years ago got stepped on when they were celebrating in Oakland. He missed the playoffs because he was stepped on and broke his finger.
I don't think it had anything to do with the way he pitched.
Q. You said you would wait till Boston to name your Game 4 starter; what will you be looking at to make the decision?
JOE TORRE: Duque felt good yesterday it seemed. It will just be up to Mel and I to decide, you know, which way we want to go. If he continues to feel well.
I don't know if he played catch today or he was going to wait till tomorrow to do something, but tomorrow we should have an answer on what we're going to do. It's just going to be basically trying to make a decision with all of the facts that we have. Obviously the thing that Duque has going for him is the fact that he has been down that road before, he is experienced, so that, you know, weighs heavy on his side. But again we still have to consider the health factor and make sure that it's more than the fact that he wants to pitch that we make sure we try to make the right decision.
Q. I assume you were using the term "panic" more in jest than anything when you talked about Mariano?
JOE TORRE: Right. Well, sometimes. (Laughter.)
Q. It has been an ongoing thing for you this season, how vulnerable do you feel now with that bridge between your starter and the closer?
JOE TORRE: Well, depending on how long the bridge is. Our starters are obviously a big part of what we do, and we certainly need our starter to get us into that, entering that third 1/3 of the game. But it's been better lately. There was a time we were missing a couple of starters and you tried to choreograph what was going to happen. We need to find a way to get to Gordon, and way we do that is with Quantrill, with Sturtze, chip in with Heredia, if there is a one left-hander you need
to get out in a certain inning. But our starters, knock wood, over the last couple of weeks have been there for us, and that's why we're able to finish the deal in winning the division and got through Minnesota.
So we had some questions going into Minnesota, with a couple of guys who had never pitched in postseason before, and Kevin Brown, you know, had not pitched effectively that often, so we think that those questions have been answered for us. We feel good about our pitching right now.
Q. How could you describe your relationship with Ruben Sierra? He recognizes that in the past, he has had problems disciplinary; how do you feel, because a few weeks ago we saw that you -- that last game --
JOE TORRE: He got upset last night. He saw them bringing me some green tea. He says, "you didn't bring some green tea when I was managing that Sunday."
We've come a long way, we left the whole 180-degree turn. When he left here in '96, I just felt that he -- that his mindset wasn't fitting in with what we needed to do. You know, it was a short time later after he left, I know he said some things about being here and happy somewhere else, but I think it was either spring or too late when he was looking for a job that he sat and we talked in spring training. You know, he was sorry about what went on between us, and right now, I -- and again, he wasn't at the top of my list last year when we were talking about names to get in June, players to get in June. When he came over here, he's been nothing but a top-notch, helping the young players, just whether he's playing or isn't playing, he's the same guy, and I really appreciate him and he's been a big plus for us.
And personally, I love him.
Q. The Red Sox gave a gloomy forecast on Schilling's status; do you expect to see him again?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I do. It's this time of year. You find a way to go out there. I know Curt; Curt is a competitor. If for some reason it's impossible, then we won't see him. But until that happens I'm sure he's not counting himself out. He's too much of a competitor. You don't get here and win the way he's won and things like that by being soft. You know, we know that you have all of the questions that are being asked and all of the things that are being said, but, you know, if he doesn't show up next time, I'm sorry he's hurting, but I'm not sorry we're not going to face him, let's put it that way.
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