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October 7, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

Minneapolis, Minnesota - postgame 3

Yankees - 5, Twins -1

Q. After all the feeling that this year would be different, this team had nothing to do with it, what is your level of frustration after a sweep?
ROCCO BALDELLI: First of all, I just want to take a second and congratulate the Yankees on everything that they just accomplished. They played very well. They earned this, and they did a great job. So first of all, congratulations to them.

I mean it when I say to you that I do not sit here frustrated at all. I am extremely happy and extremely proud of everything that we just went through over the course of this season. Our guys should be walking out of that clubhouse with our heads held high, and they never stopped playing. Our guys continued to fight day in and day out.

We got beat over the last three days, and there's no way around that. That's going to happen from time to time, but what an amazing season it was. It was very special for me, and I told the guys as much. I hope every single person in that clubhouse feels as proud as I do right now.

Q. Just curious, how long do you feel like you'll think about this series and maybe things you learned versus what you've processed in the last few minutes since the game has ended? How will that all come together for what you do in the future when you guys make the playoffs again?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I'd say forever. I mean, I'll think about it forever. You only play in so many different playoff series, and you only get this opportunity a few times. Some people spend their entire life in the game and never get the opportunity to do what we just did.

So I do think it's a very special occasion. It's something we hold dear to our hearts, and it means a lot to everyone in the game. So I'll always think about this series, just like I think about all the other series that I've ever been involved in. You never forget them.

Personally, I like to continue to learn and think about things and have conversations and talk things out and get other people's opinions on stuff like this, and this is -- that's where this falls for me. I'll probably always be there. I hope I'm always kind of thinking about it like that.

When you look back on it, we talk about -- I never second guess anything that we do. We stand by the decisions we make, and like I said, we just went out there and we were outplayed for three games. It's okay to acknowledge that. We'll be back.

Q. Rocco, I know it's still a little fresh, but with it being your first season as a manager, was it what you thought it would be? What did you learn? How would you characterize your first year as a manager?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It was a great year. I got to be a part of something that I consider very special, and I think we have a very unique, special group of people. We got a chance to watch some players reach new heights in their careers. We got a chance to go out there. We won 101 games. It was a group that meshed and came together exceptionally well.

In this job, you learn something new every day. The experience part of this job does matter, and as someone who never had that experience, I was figuring things out on the go all the time. I found that extraordinarily challenging, but also very rewarding. Every day when I left, I took something home with me, and I'll keep those things forever. I wouldn't trade anything that just happened for anything in the world.

Q. Rocco, we can all sort of add up the scores and the statistics, but what do you think over these three games separated these two teams in your mind?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, to be very blunt about it, they probably pitched a little better than us. They probably swung the bats a little better than us and defended better than us. We're not going to run away from what just happened and say anything else. I mean, that's really the way that it played out. I'd bet on our guys if we got the chance to play it all over again. That's not how it works. You've got one opportunity to go out there and play the games, and the Yankees went out there, and they played very well.

I think they executed very well. They had a plan. They carried it out. That's kind of the way that I think the series played out. When you play in a best of five series, it can be over very quickly, and that's what happened.

Q. Rocco, hoping to get your thoughts on what Odorizzi gave you today, how you decided to take him out after five. I know he's going into the order for the third time. And how you tried to hold the line right there with your bullpen.
ROCCO BALDELLI: This game was a little different, as we talked about before the game. It's an elimination game. It's a game where you're going to send all of our guys out there, the guys that have been exceptional at what they do all year long. Jake threw the ball great. I think Jake -- I don't know what we could have asked for more from him. We also were -- we had opportunities to put runs on the board, but we weren't able to push them across.

We had shots. I thought we had some good at-bats. I thought we hit some balls hard. It just didn't play out in a way we were scoring any runs. Jake was coming through the order again. He got us through five really good innings. We could have taken a chance and sent him back out there, but we had a very well rested Rogers, Romo, May. We had all these guys that are just ready to pitch, and they're really good at what they do, too.

So I don't know if there was necessarily a wrong answer there because Odo looked great, as well, and he probably could have kept going. If we were in a different situation, if we were not in an elimination game in the playoffs, Odo is going to keep pitching in that game. But having those guys hopefully ready at the top of their game and as rested as they can be, we just wanted to go with our relievers and give them an opportunity to get us to the end of the game.

Q. Do bats going that quiet surprise you? Seven runs in three games for a team that hit 307 home runs and were that prolific. Did it surprise you to struggle offensively so much in these three games, Rocco?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It's baseball, so that can happen. We've had other three game -- parts of our season where we played three games and didn't put very many runs on the board, too. You wish it didn't happen in the playoffs, but it did. I thought we did swing the bats pretty good today. We hit more than a handful of balls on the barrel and didn't have anything to show for it.

They defended well. They made several good quality plays out there in the field that put them in a place to get through some of these innings. If we find some space, you never know. Again, that's not -- there's no excuse there. I think we were beaten by a team that played better than us these three games.

Q. Got a lot of guys in there that haven't been on this stage before. What about the way that they played in these games and that they might have learned from these games might give you optimism for if and when they're back on this stage in the future?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I don't think anyone would argue that we have a really talented group of players. We have another subset of guys, a lot of young guys that are really coming into their own and are going to do great things for a long time.

Playing in the playoffs, this is invaluable. Going forward, this is something that -- just like -- I was just saying earlier, just like I'm going to take a lot out of this and learn a lot from what we just experienced. I hope all of our players do, too. Hopefully, we're in this position again next year and again after that. You draw upon these things. You can touch on things. It doesn't mean inexperienced players can't have success in the postseason and in stressful environments and situations. Of course they can. We've seen it time and time again. But when you have done it once and two times and three times and you go through it, you do learn from what you've seen, and I think it can definitely be helpful.

Q. Rocco, in the end, did you think anything outside the lines affected the way the series ended up, whether it was history or Yankee mystique or nerves? Anything else other than just baseball?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I don't think anything affected our guys one bit. Our guys were ready to play. They were excited. We were all really just looking forward to getting the games going because there's a lot going on. There's just a lot of stuff that you do deal with in the postseason that you don't normally have to deal with, but I don't think any of it got in the way of our guys just worrying about going out there and playing the game.

We did. We went out there, and we did our absolute best, like we do every single night, and this happened to be the result, but it doesn't change anything. This was our absolute best effort. Nothing got in the way of it.

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