10/17/2004 6:20 PM ET
Joe Torre pregame quotes
Yankees aren't writing off Red Sox, staying focused
Q. I know the postseason doesn't give you much time to reflect, I was just curious if you had time to think back last night, if anything surprised you more than anything else?
JOE TORRE: Any time you come in and you score 19 runs in a postseason game it's a surprise. Again, I've been on the other side of that thing, too, and even in postseason. I think Arizona just killed us a game or two and the Braves did it back in '96. You realize how it can happen. Just get on one of those rolls where everybody seems relaxed swinging the bat and our top half of the batting order was incredible last night.
Again, I was just taking downstairs to our local guys, and you know, it's something that you allow yourself to enjoy from the time you leave here last night to the time you go to sleep, and then once you wake up you realize you have another game to win.
Last night, and considering how many times we play each other, yeah, especially in this ballpark, it's a surprise that we won by such a score.
Q. Why have you been able to have some success over the years against Lowe?
JOE TORRE: Well, it has not always been that way. I remember Derek pitching some games against us that have been -- he shut us down completely. It's all about location and being able to do what you need to do with your pitches. We're pretty patient. And hopefully, we're patient tonight and I think because Lowe isn't a power pitcher, and he more or less moves the ball around and command and control is a big part of it.
Just hopefully we can exhibit the patience tonight that we've exhibited in the first three games.
Q. This may be hard for you to quantify and I'm not going to suggest that you might win tonight, but you guys are undefeated in LCS play; do you have any explanation for the success you have in this particular round in the playoffs?
JOE TORRE: No, but I've noticed that, too. (Laughter.) You know, we were beaten by Cleveland in '97 and the Angels beat us. Believe me, when you get all pumped up and you win the division, then all of a sudden you're out of it, it's such a weird feeling.
And I don't know what the reason is but we have had success. We've gotten ahead in some series, you know,3-0 like we are now, and we've been able to close the deal. I think it's important, we always emphasize, that you never, even though a lot of people are writing the Red Sox off or whoever we happen to be playing at the time, you know, clubs are capable of putting wins together. And the short series scares the hell out of me -- and when I say short series, whether it's three or five, because it's such an emotional time of year, and momentum can switch so quickly. So we're pretty businesslike right now and hopefully we can continue to do that.
We've got some guys that, I don't want to say came together, because they have been together for most of the year, but as far as -- they are hot right now. And again, hopefully we can do it one more time.
Q. Can you think of a time when you've seen a lot of emotion from Matsui? It seems like he doesn't really show it, ever.
JOE TORRE: You know, you really don't get -- he has a lot of fun. He has a sense of humor. The guys love him to death. But you're right, I think the last at-bat he had last night, we had a nine-run lead and he gets up there and he's just locked in and has the at-bat he has against the left-hand pitcher. It's something that he's very special, and what's been interesting is watching him get here last year, and get so -- get better as he went along, first half of last year, last half of last year, and this year just with the experience of the year under his belt to watch him just take certain liberties, where it looks like he could maybe drive the ball a little bit.
Last year I think he was more of a contact-type hitter, and I think this year after experiencing some of the pitchers here, he just felt that he could do certain things.
Q. How do you guard against a possible letdown?
JOE TORRE: Well, that's what we -- that's the most important thing, there's no question. You don't get credit for the big victory last night, you don't get up there today and have a four-run lead all of a sudden. It's still 0-0 and you know that anything can happen. But I just think the experience of a lot of guys on our ballclub, and as I said, the businesslike attitude and approach, understand that you have to win four games.
You know, our goal is to win every single game, and so far in this series, we've been successful at doing that. I mean, we certainly could not have visualized that, but now that we are here, I think we have to think in terms of last night's game and the two previous games, just working more for our confidence as opposed to our being overconfident.
Q. If you have some early problems out of Duque tonight, if he's only going to go one or two possibly, would you consider bringing in Moose to close the deal or would you go with Sturtze?
JOE TORRE: You know, I think the game will dictate who we use. But I don't -- I don't see Moose being in this game tonight. I really don't. I was kicking myself in the rear end in Minnesota on that Game 4 because we had sent him home without the off-day we wanted in Game 5 and then when we had a tie game in the ninth inning, 10th inning, I said, oh, I wish we had this guy to win a two-inning game, as opposed to a nine-inning game.
I don't see Moose in this game. If we got in trouble, early, you're right, Sturtze would be a possibility. Loaiza would be another possibility.
Q. Are you confident in what you and Mel have seen in the pitching stretch, mirroring the quality of his stretch with the Yankees?
JOE TORRE: Yes, and again, I don't know how successful he's going to be but I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that he'll be able to pitch. The last time we sent him out there, it was the Friday before the season was over against Toronto. He didn't pitch very well, didn't throw very well. We sort of forced him to pitch. And when I say "forced him to pitch," we said, you know, we'd like to see you pitch before we can really schedule you for the postseason. So he went out there and, you know, pitched a few innings, didn't throw very many balls hard and told us how his arm felt flat, dead and whatever.
We feel that since he's been so honest and, as I say, I didn't see him when he tried to throw and had problems. And again, it wasn't pain. He didn't have any discomfort. It was just it felt like it was dead.
But I did see him last Monday and Mel, you know, certainly saw a step up last Monday and then felt comfortable again on Wednesday when he threw another bullpen.
Q. Have you ever for one second, either with your staff or your wife or God forbid with George, speculated on what it would be like to be on the other side of this rivalry, knowing the history of both sides as you do?
JOE TORRE: Well, being on the other side of this rivalry, at least going to the ballpark in this town, I wouldn't see all of those digits, I guess. (Laughter.)
They are two passionate clubs. I know the Yankees have had far more success in recent years. The Red Sox early on won World Series but, you know, I remember -- when you think back to the Yankee managers and the most recent for me, Ralph Houk who was here at Yankee Stadium, very respected man. It's something that as a manager, I would not think you'd get caught up in the history of it as much as you do as a fan or reminding the fans, because you have a job to do. I know Zim, I've talked to Zim about being here and managing, he loved it here, he absolutely loved it here, because of the passion.
When I was approached by Lou Gorman in '88, I never hesitated because this is one of the original treasures here in Boston. But sometimes it gets ugly.
I know that we respect them and hopefully they respect us on the baseball end of it, and it's been wild. I've never been a part of or have been this close to witnessing anything like this, other than as a kid in Brooklyn.
Q. You always talked about Andy Pettitte and his success, no longer having to prove himself, can the same be said for Mussina when he came out of the bullpen?
JOE TORRE: Well, once he did that was similar to when I told Roger Clemens that he didn't have to defend himself anymore; or after he pitched Game 3 in the World Series in 2001 after being down 0-2. It's coming up in a spot that there is -- you either are successful or if you're mediocre, you're not looked at like you're successful. I think when he came in out of the bullpen that night, not only I think people looked at him differently, but I think he had a different feel because he was asked to do something he had never done before, come out of the bullpen.
And unbeknownst to me, Mel didn't promise him, but sort of told him he would come in in the middle of an inning; not start an inning. When he told me that later on after we were celebrating, I said, "Well, I guess we lied to you."
Certainly, I guess knowing how he handled that let's you trust him a little bit easier, yeah.
Q. Just so you know, you might still see a few digits if you managed here, but I was just curious --
JOE TORRE: I know, Zim used to tell me that when his daughter would go home from the ballpark crying, because of the booing he would take when he would go to the mound.
Any update on John Olerud and will he be in the lineup?
JOE TORRE: No, he's not in the lineup. Clark will hit eighth and play first base. John is not very mobile. He's sore. When I went to first base last night, you know, he said, "The bat hit me and I guess I had not seen the replay, but people who saw the replay said it looked like the bat hit his instep, the left foot. And it's sore. The X-rays were negative. I guess if it's not feeling better in the next day or so, they may do further testing. But he's not available for us today.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.