November 2, 2001
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Workout Day
Q. Is Curt Schilling still your Game 7 starter or is there some thought there of wavering?
BOB BRENLEY: I think at this point we are just going to have to wait and see how Curt feels. He expressed some concern yesterday that he was a little more taxed physically than he thought he would be after pitching in Game 4, so we're just going to have to play it by ear.
Q. With the late-inning comeback the Yankees have had, do you think that's less likely to happen in your own ballpark?
BOB BRENLY: I certainly hope so. I mean, it's one of the more improbable finishes to the last two games there in New York that you could possibly imagine, but that's the game of baseball. There's no way to predict what's going to happen. You can stack up all of the numbers, all of the histories and the matchups and all of the stuff in the world and it doesn't always come out the way the numbers say it is supposed to.
Q. Have you talked to BK this morning, and is there anything that you can tell us about his personality that will help or hurt him in his effort to get over what's happened the last couple of games?
BOB BRENLY: I have not talked to him this morning. I would assume he is probably sleeping right now and will be sleeping until he comes to the ballpark tomorrow, if I know BK. Much has been made about the fact that he is only 22 years old and the pressure and all this, but I really don't think in my estimation, the way I know BK, that I'm worried about him. I think he's going to be fine. He's very resilient kid. I know much has been made about the language difference and the culture difference and all that stuff, but baseball is baseball. He understands his importance to this ballclub. I'm sure he's very disappointed that he was not able to close out games 3 and 4, but I don't think that's going to affect the way he pitches if we need him in game 7 and Game 6.
Q. Do you have an alternate plan for Game 7 or?
BOB BRENLY: If it gets to 7, all hands are on deck. We can throw nine guys, an inning each. We can start Anderson, Lopez, Bobby Witt; I'm not exactly sure what the game plan will be right now.
Q. Luis, you got hit by Andy Pettitte last time with a ball on the wrist; how is that feeling?
LUIS GONZALEZ: It's been bothering me a little bit. I mean, still getting treatment. Just, you know, this is post-season. You've got to run out there and do whatever you can. Obviously, I'd like to be doing a lot better offensively, and neither team is really swinging the bat that well. These guys have come up with two clutch hits in the ninth inning where very easily we feel like we were one out away in Game 4 and one out away in Game 5 from being world champs, so our team has a lot of confidence. We feel like we can do this now that we are back home here.
Q. Luis, obviously, there was momentum built by the Yankees, or they would like to think so with these dramatic wins, but how deep is your confidence in Randy that once tomorrow night's game starts that you guys have that confidence and that momentum?
LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, I mean you probably could not see two more dramatic wins than we saw the last two nights. This is a veteran team that we have over here. The game was over, we were shaking our heads and scratching our heads going -- we could not believe it. But we got on that plane and knew we were coming back here at home. We have played well here at home. We didn't feel like they were that comfortable playing here against us. We have Randy Johnson going tomorrow and they have got Pettitte. It's going to be a great matchup. Our goal is to get to the starters. Rivera has done a great job for them, Stanton. The key to beating the Yankees, you know you have to beat their starters. We know there's no tomorrow for us. We have to win two games; they just have to win one.
Q. What's been the key to your starters' success against the Yankees and did you consider using Randy in relief last night?
BOB BRENLY: No. I didn't consider using Randy in relief at all last night. The key for starters has basically been what they have done all year long. Curt and Randy, the people who have followed our ballclub since the beginning of the season, that's what they have done all year. They make their pitches, they are aggressive, they work both side of plate, they work up and down, they can throw pitches in the strike zone when they want to, lead hitters out of the strike zone when they want to. Batista did the same thing last night. Anderson in his game at Yankee Stadium pitched tremendously. The key is always making your pitches, trying to get ahead in the count and force that hitter to swing at a pitch that he does not want to swing at.
Q. You have not had much success with runners in scoring position; how much do you attribute that to the pitchers or your hitters' lack of execution? Any lineup changes for Saturday?
BOB BRENLY: I don't know for sure about the lineup yet for Saturday. There may be some changes but I choose to give the credit to the Yankee pitching staff. We have said it all throughout this post-season that a lot of very good offensive ballclubs came into this post-season and we have seen a lot of very good hitters shut down, and it's because of the pitching. That's why teams advance deep into the post-season, because they are able to make their pitches more consistently than the teams who are not here. I'm certain that that's the case here. I know our hitters are trying to get those base hits with runners in scoring position, but there's some very good pitches out there trying to keep us from getting those hits.
Q. In light of Curt's arm weariness, do you now look back on the decision to start him on three days' rest and regret it?
BOB BRENLY: No, I don't regret it at all. All signs pointed towards the fact that he should take the ball. He did take the ball and he went out there and pitched a tremendous ball game. That's a risk you run, but I don't regret it.
Q. Secondly, if you have the lead in Game 6, one run, two runs in the last inning, does Kim come in again?
BOB BRENLY: If he's good to go and I fully anticipate that he will be ready to go. He's our closer. I don't know what else to say. He's our guy. He's done it all year long for us. He's given up a couple of very discouraging home runs over the last couple of days, but he's also pitched tremendously before and after those home runs. So he's going to be our guy.
Q. Rod, you've hit .300 a few times in the Minor Leagues but struggled a little bit here, very difficult to play part-time, but big night obviously last night. Can you tell us a little bit about your ascent to the big leagues, your path, and then a little bit about last night?
ROD BARAJAS: It was a real tough road, being a non-drafted free agent from the get-go and not having a real opportunity my first year in the minor leagues. With Glenn Sherlock who was in our organization at the time, he was our catching instructor, he saw something in me and decided that, you know, I had a chance to make it to the big leagues one day so they took me seriously and gave me the opportunity. Just a lot of hard work and perserverance, just had a lot of people telling me I could not make it to the big leagues and just keep working. This year was a tough year for me, my first year being a real backup. I just had to roll with the punches and make something positive happen, and it did last night.
Q. Can you share a story about your trials?
ROD BARAJAS: I had finished my second year in junior college and still had a semester left and my junior coach was approached by a scout of the Diamondbacks and wanted to know if anyone was interested in tryout camp because they needed help in Single-A and my coach asked me if I wanted to go down there and I said, sure, went down had a good tryout, and they called me the next day and signed me up and from there on it was just the Minor Leagues and hard work.
Q. What has the last 24 hours been like for you and the guys, being that close and having to come back here?
BOB BRENLY: I can't say it was fun, but it was fun being a part of it. I know a lot of people are saying that those are two of the most exciting baseball games they have ever seen, World Series, regular season, spring training, little league, whatever you choose; tremendously exciting ballgames; that it was fun to be a part of. It was not fun to lose those two ballgames, but I don't think -- I don't know if I can really put into words what the last 24 hours has been like. It's just been a roller coaster of emotions and some good, some bad, but we're still standing, we've got two games left in our ballpark here hopefully, couple of horses on the mound and hopefully the next 24 hours will be better than the last 24.
Q. What did you learn about Pettitte that you did not know before Game 2 in his last start?
BOB BRENLY: Nothing, really. He came as advertised. We had a very good scouting report on him. I've seen him pitch many games over the course of his career, and he did what we thought he was going to do. He's a great competitor. He's a very focused pitcher. He seems to be one of those guys who gets into the zone, he pulls his hat down real low so all he sees is the catcher's target and tries to shut out all distractions. He's been able to do it as well as anybody over the course of his career, especially in the course of the post-season.
Q. Could both of you share a story or two about BK, just what kind of guy is he, other than borderline narcoleptic; what kind of teammate is he?
LUIS GONZALEZ: Borderline is an understatement.
BOB BRENLY: He crossed the border.
Q. Just some thoughts you have about him?
ROD BARAJAS: BK, the first year we signed him, we were both in Double-A together and that's when he didn't speak any English whatsoever. You know, right from the get-go you knew he was a real good kid, he tried to talk, tried to communicate with us. I had him next year in Triple-A, and he's been a great teammate. He's a little quiet side, because he has not taken the English language, he's not fluent with it. But he's a great kid. He talks to you, he jokes around with you. You know, he speaks Spanish to me which kind of makes it fun but he's a great kid.
LUIS GONZALEZ: First of all BK is going to be fine. I talked to him last night on the plane, as well as a lot of other players. We are a veteran team. We stick together, and what's happened the last two days is not his fault, it's all of our fault. We failed to execute on a lot of plays. We don't drop the hammer on one guy. We blame all of us for when we don't win. When we win it's a team effort. It's not just one guy out there. So he's going to be all right and everybody in here, on our team, has confidence in him, if he gets the ball on Saturday, or Sunday, whatever it may be, and he's the go-to guy for us. Our starter's job is to try to get as deep into the ballgame to get him in the game, so, you know, he's a very -- he felt terrible. We felt bad for him and we felt bad for ourselves, too, because we all took the hit. But we still believe in him. He's a guy who we want to have the ball out there in the ninth inning, and, you know, he's going to be okay. He knows that he has the confidence of all of the other guys on the team.
Q. Can you pitch in Game 7? Can you and will you?
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, I can, and if he gives me the ball, I will.
Q. There seemed to be some hesitation about that, the question came up earlier: Are you sore?
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah. I mean, I talked to the skipper the day after the game the other day, told him I felt -- I was sore. I mean, it was 299 innings into the season and the seven hardest ones I threw were the last seven so I was sore, but it's amazing what 48 hours and some baseball will do for you.
Q. The old expression is that nobody knows what's going on in the bullpen except the manager himself; do you feel you've taken some undue criticism over the last few days?
BOB BRENLY: Yeah, I feel that way but I understand also, it's part of the game. I mean you make a decision and you go with it. Half the people are going to think you did the right thing and half of the people are going to think you did the wrong thing so you can't win that battle. You just have to make your decisions and stand by them. If the guys go out there and execute, make the pitches they want to, if the hitters get the hits when we need them, it all looks great. Then if it doesn't work, it's open season.
Q. Could you address Damian's status, and I wanted to ask the players how they intend to spend the off-day?
BOB BRENLY: Damian, as you probably know by now, strained his right calf muscle in Game 3. Came back and played Game 4. It was very tender, but he felt he was good to go. When he woke up before Game 5, however, he was having a lot of trouble walking. He had a lot of pain in that calf muscle. Got treatments from about 1 o'clock until around 6 o'clock yesterday, trying to get him ready to play last night. At that point it became apparent he was not going to be able to go. Rod got in the lineup and did a great job for us. Damian will continue to get treatments today and tomorrow and we'll make a judgment based on what we see tomorrow before game time.
ROD BARAJAS: I've got a bunch of family in town, so I'll probably just be at home and entertain all of the family that I've got in town.
LUIS GONZALEZ: I will probably spend the rest of the afternoon here getting treatment on some minor injuries and then go home and go to Chucky Cheese with my kids and family where I normally end up on off-days.
CURT SCHILLING: I'm taking Gonzo down the street and we are going to go watch Mystique and Aura dance. (Laughter.) I'm going to work with our masseuse here, as I did yesterday, and if I feel as much improved tomorrow as I did today from yesterday, then it will have been a very good off-day. But I think we are going to see a movie tonight.
Q. How much would you embrace taking the ball in Game 7?
CURT SCHILLING: When you look at the by-lines of the game, Roger Clemens Game 7 of the World Series, and all that that entails, and what has happened in my career, what he's done in my career, I don't know that I'd ever get a ball for a bigger game in my life.
Q. Given the situation of how the games in New York went and now having Randy, how much confidence do you have as Randy being the guy tomorrow night in a game that you need to win?
BOB BRENLY: Well, we've got a lot of confidence in Randy every time he takes the ball just like we have a lot of confidence in Curt and Miguel Batista and Brian Anderson and whoever we send out there. But the way Randy has thrown the ball this season and specifically in this post-season, we feel very good about our chances. He's working on regular rest. It should not be a factor whatsoever. Pitching here at home in front of our fans, we're expecting a great outing from him.
Q. Luis, Andy Pettitte said the other night that Game 2 was some of the best stuff he ever had and he threw barely a dozen pitches out of the strike zone yet he was hard to hit; wondering what you thought about how well he did and what his stuff was like?
LUIS GONZALEZ: I faced him in the All-Star Game and I hit him a lot better in that game than I did the other day. Definitely, he's not your average left-handed pitcher. He throws -- he's in the strike zone, but mixes it up, he throws in, out, changes your eye perception, moves the ball up and down and he throws in the mid 90s and that's not your typical left-hander. Most of them change speeds, throw a lot of breaking balls. He doesn't; he goes right at you. I think he's been on the Roger Clemens program the last couple of years, and he's become a lot stronger, more of a power pitcher. You can see that, he will throw a ball 89, 90 and when he wants to bump up. He'll get it up to 93, 94 miles an hour and gets on you in a hurry and what he does pretty well against left-handers, I think he hides the ball fairly well on you and all of a sudden he just gets right on top of you.
Q. Curt, what else besides massage are you doing for your arm and did you have an MRI or anything to check it out?
CURT SCHILLING: No. No. Just doing the same things I did after Game 1. I'll be ready. I'll be fine. Obviously, we are all counting on Randy to go out and do what Randy has done all year and the offense, to find a way. When Sunday rolls around, I'll be ready for Game 7.
Q. Hearing what Curt has had to say, any hesitation for him to be your Game 7 starter?
BOB BRENLY: Physically, he's ready to go in Game 7, he's going to get the ball. That's not even a point. (Smiles).
Q. Clearly, on the other side of the big debate, I felt like you should have left it the way it was: Curt pitches Game 5, Randy 6, I felt like it -- that was my opinion. Do you think it would cause as big of a debate when you decided to go with Curt in Game 4 and when did you first start thinking about that philosophy?
BOB BRENLY: Well, I realize at this time of year, if we change the post-game spread it's going to cause a big debate. That's just the nature of post-season baseball, and I don't regret the decision. I think that we did the right thing and I think the way Curt went out and threw the ball in Game 4, kind of justified that to some extent.
Q. But when did you start thinking about that, like before the series started, you figured Curt would go 1, 4, 7 or has it evolved?
BOB BRENLY: It evolved after the series started. You know, Curt and Randy both came into the office and volunteered their services to pitch on short rest. After talking it over with my coaching staff and thinking about it, we felt that because Curt is the kind of pitcher that he is and the way that he's been throwing in this post-season, that he was better suited to come back on short rest than Randy. Randy may have hurled a gem last night if we chose to bring him back on short rest but we all felt it was better to keep him rolling along the way he has this year and take our chances that way.
Q. Bob, Matt Williams has been magnificent playing third, except for that home run in Game 2, not doing so well at the plate. Do you feel any good vibes about him coming back in Game 6 and facing Pettitte again?
BOB BRENLY: Well, if all it took was good vibes, Matty would have a home run every at-bat because I feel good every time he walks up to the plate. I think he's had some tremendous swings in this series, he's hit some balls right on the button, right at people. Spencer made a tremendous play on one of his line drives, I believe in Game 3. I always feel good with Matty at the plate. Once again, the opposing pitchers are trying to do their best to keep him from getting base hits, so he takes what he gets, tries to do the best that he can with it and unfortunately, we have not had the kind of results that we had hoped for out of Matty, but I feel very confident that tomorrow night, in any at-bat he may bust out and do something amazing.
Q. Luis, in the immediate aftermath in the dressing room last night there were different emotions. Finley said he almost had to laugh because he could not believe it happened again, and Mark Grace was the other way. By the time the plane landed what was the feeling?
LUIS GONZALEZ: The feeling was we've got to win two games. Yeah, we were all scratching our heads. We could not believe it. I mean, as much as all of the fans and everybody -- we were not intimidated going over there. We felt like we had those games won. We just, you know -- a couple bad pitches went for home runs. 7 times out of 10, we were talking earlier, the balls right down the middle are the ones that you usually pop up or make outs. Tino got a good pass at one of them and hit it well, and then Jeter, and then Brosius. So, I mean, that's the nature of the game, like I said earlier. We are not hanging our heads. If we were giving up we would not be here right now. So our team, we believe, can win these next two games. We are counting on going out there tomorrow and playing well and we plan on being here Sunday to play in Game 7. We know we have got a tough matchup but at the same time our ballclub is not giving up my any means. We have been doing it all year. I'm sure the Yankees have, too. They had their backs to the wall against Oakland down 2-0 and they came back. They played well at their place. They were down 2-0 against us and they have won three and now our backs are to the wall and we are going out there expecting to win the next two games and they are expecting to win also. That's why you've got two veteran teams out there playing hard.
Q. Curt, is one of the reasons you came in here today to explain or clarify your injuries?
CURT SCHILLING: I accidentally bumped into this. (Laughter.) I came in for treatment. I wasn't -- this was a mistake. (Laughter.) No, I mean, it's hard, when you have this much media this kind of situation, just like the other night after Game 4, half of you walked in on the last half of interviews at my locker and there were a lot of misquotes fired around the next day. Brenly was criticized as the manager the next day because the conversation did not get out to half of you. After I walked up after the seventh inning, I told him I was gassed but I also felt like I had another inning. So he's got to interpret, which there's a lot of different signs as a pitcher you give to a manager, some of them are intentional, some of them are unintentional. But he gets criticized for making a move that has worked for us all year long. I heard from a manager a long time ago, "You're fired the day you're hired. They just don't put that hire date on your contract and between those dates you've got to manage the way you feel you have to manage and you do that and you walk away with your head up." He's managed us one way the whole year and that has worked. We were two outs away from being World Champions; we are not right now, but things get misinterpreted, misconstrued especially at this time of year, and the fact that the New York media is involved in this -- I'm talking numbers, not quality, but there's a lot of people and there's a lot of misquotes and a lot of misinterpretations. It was unfortunate. But, again, this was a mistake. (Laughs). This is my son, Gehrig, by the way. Middle name is Mystique. (Laughter.)
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