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October 3, 2017

Joe Girardi

New York, New York

Yankees - 8, Twins - 4

Q. Of all the plans you run through ahead of the game for how you use your bullpen, had you thought about the possibility of that quick an exit and how you would deal with it and how did it unfold?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, well, we talked prior to the game. You always bring up that scenario that if he takes a line drive off the shin, what do you do, right away. I didn't think that he was only going to get one out. I didn't bring that scenario up.

And you know, part of it is trying to decide who to bring in, and we talked about Greeny and Robby would be the first two guys that we would bring in tonight, no matter when the situation was, to try to put innings out, and to get as much out of him as we could.

Our bullpen was remarkable tonight. The innings that they gave us, the innings that David Robertson gave us, how they saved each other's runs, I mean, it was just remarkable.

Q. What is the mood like in that dugout when Didi hits the game --
JOE GIRARDI: I mean, it was even up beat after we got out of that first inning. I think Green being able to get out of it and keep it 3-0, I thought was really good, and Gardy gets on. And sometimes for a starting pitcher, you know, whether it's you or the other team, when there's a long inning and you have to sit for a long time, your stuff is not quite what it would be if you didn't sit a long time. And Gardy's walk was huge, and then Judge puts a big at-bat, and the emotions -- I mean, they were still high, but they even got a little bit higher.

Q. You were here in '96 when that group got its first playoff win, first playoff series. What does it mean for these young guys to get their first win like this and advance to the next round?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it means a lot, because a lot of them showed up in a big way. You think about the day that Aaron Judge had, Sanchez had a big double, scored a run. You can think about Bird driving in a big run, the job that Green did tonight. Tommy Kahnle is fairly young, too. So I think it's big.

I'm not sure what it does to your bullpen on Thursday, but I think it's really big for these guys, and just to see the atmosphere, even the guys that weren't on the roster. We wanted them to stay because there was a bunch of young kids, just to get a feel of what it's like, and I saw a lot of them looking around.

The crowd tonight was unbelievable. They were in the bleachers, jumping up and down. I almost felt like -- and this is a good thing -- that I was at a college football game again. It's as loud as I've heard it in a long time.

Q. I know these were abnormal circumstances with the win-or-go-home game and with Severino struggling the way he did, but after the Indians made it to the World Series last year relying as much on their bullpen as they did, do you see the tide shifting in baseball toward a more bullpen-heavy game in the playoffs? And do you anticipate using your bullpen more aggressively than you might have in years past?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think it shifts a lot during the playoffs for a long, long time, not just last year. I've said this 50 times. Think about what we did in '96 with Mariano Rivera. I mean, that's what we did.

And it's hard for starters a lot of times to get through a lot of innings because there's tough at-bats. There's a reason there's tough at-bats, because you face good offenses because they're good teams, and you do have to rely on your bullpen a lot.

We have a wonderful mix down there with guys that we can do it with. And you know, I pushed some guys a little bit further than I would like tonight, but it's win or go home, and that's why I did it.

Q. Brett was overshadowed by the core four when he got here; when you guys won in '09, he's overshadowed a little bit now by the younger guys, but does tonight prove how vital he is?
JOE GIRARDI: He's a spark plug, and he's a leader in that clubhouse. The one thing that we've seen always in Gardy is fight in him. He's got a lot of fight. And I thought that's what our club showed tonight. You have a bunch of young players, and they just kept at it, and they kept at it. Gardy is a big leader in that, and he takes every at-bat like it's his last at-bat and is going to fight you tooth and nail, and he just kind of sets the tone.

Q. Were you ever thinking about using a starter there? Was it bullpen all the way? And did you think you could do it with just four relievers?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I didn't necessarily think I could do it with just four relievers. I knew I had a chance. I knew that I could possibly get three innings out of Green and maybe two to three out of Robby. I felt like I could do that. But if they get long at-bats or they get long innings, you can't do that. Because it kind of played out the way it did, I didn't have to go to the starter.

Was there a possibility that I might have to if it didn't play out like that? Yeah, but because of the way it played out the way it did, I didn't have to.

Q. What about him?
JOE GIRARDI: He might have been one where they had the three lefties in a row. I thought about him. But because the other guys got so far, I got Shreve out, and then I knew I would have him later if I needed him.

Q. If I could just sort of ask this in two parts, the first one being, this wasn't a line drive off the shin, this was three runs and two more runners in scoring position. How bad a spot is that?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, it's not how you draw it up, I can tell you that. But again, because of some of the moves that we've made and some of the players that we've signed, we know that our bullpen can shut down -- you can't do that every game. You just can't, because physically they can't bounce back. But I gave them all Sunday and Monday off for a reason, because of the way it is, and again, they were remarkable.

Q. There have been a lot of games this season where you guys have shown a sort of character of a place where teams might not come back. Can you speak to the way that that character was displayed in winning tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think the character was shown in the way we fought back and answered in the first inning. That was huge for us.

And then we took the lead, and then they bounced back and tied it up, and then we took the lead again. I don't think we ever relinquished it after that. But scoring those three runs right in the first inning just showed that there was -- what I've seen all year, is the fight in this club. I saw it in Spring Training. I did. But you see the resolve, and they never get down, and there's a lot of energy in there, and they're having fun.

Q. With Judge, obviously the home runs are what people think of when they see him, but you mentioned it in the first inning, that at-bat. A young player like that, a home run hitter, the temptation is to try to get you guys back in the game quick but he didn't, he was quick and hit a pretty good pitch --
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, he hit looked like a pretty good slider down and away and Gardy ends up on third. And I've said all along, rightfully so, we talk a lot about his home runs because of how many he hit and how far, but what about the baserunning to get to third base later in the game on the ground ball that Sanchez hit? Just outstanding, knowing who's in left and some of the scouting reports that we talk about. I mean, he's a very smart player, as well.

Q. You mentioned all the things that Aaron did on the field and you talked about how he's a leader. What did you see in the clubhouse, in the dugout during this game that maybe we didn't see from Aaron in terms of how he handled everything tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: He just -- when I look at Aaron, there's a smile on his face a lot, and he just -- there's just something about him the way he carries himself that you just feel really good when he's around, when he's at the plate, whether he's playing defense, whether he's standing next to you, waiting for you to come off the field. You just feel really good when he's around, and I felt that.

Him and Gardy were saying, let's go, first inning, let's go, that sort of thing, and they took it upon themselves.

Q. We've become used to in October people being aggressive with their bullpen, but still, 26 outs feels a little more than that. Is there a moment when you know you have to go get your starting pitcher, where you're like, we're going to have to get 26 outs to win this game and what a bear this is in front of your bullpen?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I knew he just wasn't hitting any spots, and we haven't seen that all year from him. I joked with him, well, you should be ready on Thursday again, kind of joked. But I mean, you never know how someone is going to handle it.

Some nights you just have an off night. You're maybe a little bit too pumped up in a sense. But you know, again, because I had seen what Greeny had done, and because there was -- and I'm not exactly sure what game it was, but I think we got two and two thirds out of Robby -- was it against Tampa in New York? I just felt like those were the first two guys we were going to go to, and I felt like we could get five innings from those two guys.

Q. With the bullpen, you said you can't do it every night, obviously, but in the postseason with the off-days, how often can you do it?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, Greeny probably is going to need two days off. Robby is probably going to need two days off. So there's your answer.

If you're playing four games in five nights, it's really difficult to do. You can do it probably two of the games of the four, but you can't do it back to back. And a lot of times you can -- if you were to do it on Game 2, you probably can't even do it on Game 3, even with the off-day in between.

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