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October 21, 2017

Joe Girardi

Houston, Texas - pregame 7

Q. You said Green wouldn't be available tonight, him and Severino are the only ones?
JOE GIRARDI: Tanaka I wouldn't use. Gray is obviously available tonight in the bullpen. I will check with Green, but my inkling is that I won't.

Q. Is there anything in your mind about how you'd go about using Green?
JOE GIRARDI: I've said before, for me, because our bullpen has been really, really good, I've tried to use the exhaustible pen arms first before I go to a starter, because the bullpen guys are used to doing it.

Q. The team's proven that they're resilient, played well in elimination games this postseason. Does this game feel like the other elimination games or does it feel different?
JOE GIRARDI: In the sense you win or you go home it does. But I think being a Game 7 and being one game away from the World Series, I think it feels a little bit bigger. And you probably -- you can feel like you can almost grab ahold of it in a sense. And it can be snatched away from you really easily, too.

I think it feels a little bigger.

Q. Some of the Astros said last night at the eighth inning that they felt like their offense had come alive. Is there any concern that that gave them a bit of confidence going into this game?
JOE GIRARDI: Confidence is determined by the location of the pitches the next day. That's the bottom line. We felt pretty good about our offense, too, and we didn't do much against Verlander. So it's really determined by the guy on the mound.

Q. Seven games into this series, does that affect your preparation at all? There's no secrets left. Is it at that point right now?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think you're pretty familiar with what the other club does. So, yeah, I mean, there really aren't a whole lot of secrets. It's not like maybe during the regular season the guy gets called up that you've never seen before or that sort of thing. You're pretty familiar with what they have and they're familiar with what we have.

Q. CC's cutter has become a real difference maker, it was pretty effective in Game 3. What can you say about the evolution of that pitch?
JOE GIRARDI: I just think over time it's become better and better. And his location of it has become better and better. And the velocity, he is comfortable throwing it hard and doesn't have to let up. And it's a real key for him. And it's going to be a real key tonight for him, as well, because it's got the late movement. Similar to what a lot of their guys' fastballs have; it's got that late movement that's hard to adjust for.

Q. You seem to have a more effusive team than in the past. How different is this group from the '09 team? And is the difference maybe the infusion of youth?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it probably is, a lot of it, because there is so much youth, and youth that we rely on fairly heavily. You think about your 2, 3, and 5 hitters are basically rookies. Your ace this year was basically a rookie. Green, basically a rookie. So there's been a lot of youth that has kind of changed the dynamic.

And I think that -- we always talk about the older we get the more we hang around young people, the younger we feel. And I think that is true in this sport, too.

Q. Guys in the clubhouse last night spoke about the confidence they have in CC and they wouldn't want any other guy on the mound in this situation. What do you like about CC going tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: He's done it so many times. He's been there for us so many times. You don't worry about the situation being too big for him. This is what CC has been doing for a long time. The last 10 or 11 years, expected to win the big game. It's nothing new for him.

Q. You mentioned the young guys. The older guys, Robertson or CC, the value to that is the experience, obviously. But when you get this deep in the playoffs is there any way you can get a sense, I don't know if "tired" is the right word, but can they wear down when you get this deep in? Do you have to be more attentive to that?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think there's, in a sense, the fountain of youth is found when the playoffs start. The physical being worn out seems to go away. And I think a lot of that is because you never play five, six, seven, eight, nine days in a row. Starts a lot of times they get a little extra rest here and there. And I think it really reenergizes the players, which I think is really important.

Q. When you put your lineup together tonight, facing Morton to start, knowing he could be out of the game two or three innings. How does that factor into how you constructed your lineup?
JOE GIRARDI: It really doesn't. Our lefties play against lefties. And sometimes if you know that they can make a switch quickly you worry about that.

So it really didn't factor into it because we probably would have had almost the same lineup had Keuchel been pitching. It would have been a little different, my lefties would have been spread out a little different, but doesn't really change it a lot.

Q. You said Gray is available, Tanaka is not.
JOE GIRARDI: No, I probably wouldn't use Tanaka.

Q. Is that a rest thing?
JOE GIRARDI: Physically we don't think it would be good for him.

Q. Momentum is a cliche in sports, when you won three straight there it seemed you had it. Do they snatch it back because they won last night? But you also said momentum starts with the pitcher. How do you look at that?
JOE GIRARDI: Momentum starts with your starting pitcher, how well they're throwing and if they're giving you an opportunity to win the game. That's where it always starts for me in this game. I don't know about the other sports. They talk about hockey, they talk about the goalie in a sense, that's the guy trying to prevent the run, similar to what a pitcher is doing.

To me, that's where it starts. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of excitement out there. We're excited. They're excited. One of us is going to LA and one of us is going home. It's been a great series up to this point, I think we're all a little anxious to get this going.

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