The following is a transcript of Lou Piniella's postgame press conference, courtesy of ASAP Sports.
LOU PINIELLA: I'd just like to congratulate the Yankees. They are back to the World Series, and I wish them well.
Q. Ichiro in left field?
LOU PINIELLA: Yeah, we played Jay out there in the outfield tonight and left field is just a big area. We felt that it would be easier for Ichiro to cover that ground than Jay would. And Jay played right field here many, many times before. I talked to Ichiro before the ballgame and I asked him how he felt and he says, "I feel just as comfortable in left as in right." So we felt that that was the best way to go, and that's what we did.
Q. You have had success against the Yankees during the regular season this year, how are they a different ballclub in the playoffs?
LOU PINIELLA: We knew coming in here we had to hit their starting pitching. And I said for us to beat them, that we had to swing the bats against their top four. You know, for the most part, they held us in check pretty good. Once you allow their starting pitchers to pitch well, you're going to see Rivera, you are going to see Mendoza, you are going to see Stanton; it becomes a tough chore. Especially with Rivera.
Q. It was still a remarkable regular season?
LOU PINIELLA: It really was. I'm proud of our guys. I talked to the team. I told them that we've had just a fantastic season. 116 wins is something that's only been done once ever in the history of baseball. I congratulated them on a great season and I thanked them for the way they played for us, for me, and for this organization all year and told them I was proud of them.
Q. Have you exchanged any words with Ichiro, and if not, what do you plan to say to him?
LOU PINIELLA: I told him he had an outstanding season, he really did. My God, 242 hits, led the League in stolen bases. I told him he should be very proud of what he's done this year. He came here under a lot of scrutiny and he answered anything that anybody wondered. Just a great season, I congratulated him on it.
Q. How about Kazu?
LOU PINIELLA: I have not talked to Kazu yet, but I will. He was second in the league in saves. He did an outstanding job, all of our players did. I have nothing but good things to say about the character of our team and the way we played all year.
Q. Could you talk about the impact of the way things came down last night, was it hard -- did you get a sense of the guys today, that it was a huge letdown?
LOU PINIELLA: No. We needed a good game from Aaron, that was obvious. But, you know, they scored four runs and then the solo home run, and they got out of hand a little bit. But listen, whether you lose 3-2 or whether you lose whatever the score was tonight, it doesn't really matter. A loss is a loss.
Q. Looking back now after Game 2, was there any strategy or was it just from the gut?
LOU PINIELLA: No. There was no strategy. I felt that we get this thing back to Game 6. I just wanted to show confidence in my team. That's my job as a manager. Again, it got blown up here in I don't know what type of proportion. It just seems to me from -- first of all, I won't say it again. (Laughter.) Okay. I won't. I'll tell you this, if you say it in New York, it's okay, but if you say it in other parts of the country they take it a little differently. But I just had confidence in my team and that was it. You feel that way, I just said it. (Smiles).
Q. You guys from start to finish in the regular season basically never had any kind of bad -- real bad stretch. Is it just hard to sustain that for another month?
LOU PINIELLA: You know, it's the caliber of teams that you are playing. You are playing in the best teams in all of baseball at the end and the further you go, the better the teams get. Sooner or later, some teams are eliminated. We were the one, unfortunately that was eliminated but you are playing good baseball teams. You can't continue to -- I mean, you can, but it becomes harder. It's a tougher task. It's a tougher task as you move down the process. You know, the amazing thing about baseball is that no matter how many games you win, unless you win a World Series, you're going to feel disappointment. And for us, it came with the American League championship level, and for one of these two teams, Arizona and New York, it's going to come in the World Series. So unless you win it all, you're going to face disappointment.
Q. Even though you were on the wrong end of it, did you have a sense of what this meant to New York?
LOU PINIELLA: You know, the amazing thing is, is that about the eighth inning when the fans were really reveling in the stands, the one thought that did come to my mind strangely enough is, "Boy, this city suffered a lot and tonight they let out a lot of emotions." And I felt good for them in that way, not that we were getting beat or not, that we were getting beat up, but I felt good or them, I really did. And that's a strange thought to come from a manager who is getting his ass kicked.
Q. You talked about their starting pitching. Did their experience in big games and their success in big games, was that the big difference?
LOU PINIELLA: Well, you know, they have been to the post so many times in post-season. They have had so much success that they have got that confidence and they seem to draw from it. You know, they feel that they can win these type of games. I know when I played here in New York, we felt, as a team, as individuals, that we would win big games. And listen, you can be beaten but you've got to go out there and play, and play good, against a team that's got that confidence. You know, our ballclub, we didn't really hit in this series. We didn't pitch all that badly. The ten playoff games that we had, we got beat up only twice, tonight and in the Cleveland game. But outside of that, we played good ball. We just didn't swing the bats all that well, and that was really the key. Everybody, have a safe and a great winter, okay.